A leading role in the response to child sexual abuse

The Healing Foundation is once again taking a leading role in one of our nation’s important national reform initiatives, having being appointed in 2021 as one of three expert organisations to drive and lead The National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse (NCACSA).

Director of NCACSA and The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Cornforth recently attended the launch of the organisation’s Draft Five-Year Strategy in Canberra. The strategy will transform the way child sexual abuse is understood and responded to in Australia. The launch by Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, took place on 21 October 2022, exactly one year after Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled plans for the organisation in a speech to Federal Parliament.

The National Centre was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Speaking after the launch, Ms Cornforth said, “The establishment of The National Centre has been an important moment for The Healing Foundation, as one of three founders, and it gives further recognition of the importance of our work as a voice for First Nations peoples affected by abuse.” See more via video interviews about the work here.

Your feedback

The Draft Strategy is now open for review and The National Centre welcomes input and feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. There are two ways to be heard:

  1. download the strategy here and provide feedback using this email link
  2. participate in an anonymous survey using this link

The feedback process ends on 13 January 2023.

National recognition and community support

Not only has The Healing Foundation been recognised at a national level for its expertise in understanding the impacts of child sexual abuse and what can be done to reduce harm and traumatisation, the wider community has also responded proudly and generously, welcoming the organisation’s involvement and leadership in shaping The National Centre.

“Our work will be supported by a governance advisory group of 12-15 First Nations people – known as the First Nations College,” Fiona Cornforth said. “People who either work in the sector closely for some time alongside survivors and or have lived experience.”

The First Nations College (FNC) will provide advice on practice, approach, strategy, community expectations and needs, amongst other wisdom and guidance. It’s important work and we know we will be well supported! The Healing Foundation currently chairs the First Nations College and provides the College’s secretariat.

Pride and relief

Nowhere was community pride and support for The Healing Foundation involvement more evident than when an Elder working with victims of child sexual abuse in an informal healing centre came up to CEO Fiona Cornforth at the launch and presented her with a book of survivor stories. She said she’d travelled to the event especially, knowing Fiona would be there, and said she felt proud and relieved that The Healing Foundation was to play a big role in leading this crucial healing initiative.

“This is another critical opportunity to have survivors affected heard and seen and responded to. We know how much more effective services can be when informed by survivor needs and cultural healing.” Fiona Cornforth said, summing up the day. “Doing the necessary work through The National Centre honours the many people affected and importantly, seeks to equip a whole system to do better by children by keeping them safe..”

Read more about The National Centre here.

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