Examining institutional abuse redress

Professor Kathleen Daly.

Following public hearings at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (March 25-27), Griffith University criminologist Professor Kathleen Daly says the commission has a lot of hard decisions to make.

“The Commission is engaged in a wide-ranging review of what is effective redress for victim-survivors of institutional abuse,’’ said Professor Daly, author of a new book on the history of redress schemes.

“The scope of the Commission’s work is a world-first. No other country has attempted to create a national redress scheme that includes multiple jurisdictions and different contexts of victimisation.”

She said the Commission was receiving diverse views on what a monetary payment is for, which will be difficult to reconcile.

“Some see it in a future-oriented way–to build a new life with greater economic security. Others see it as recognition and acknowledgement of the past. Still others see it in legal terms–an assessment of past injury and its current impact.

“Although survivor groups want to be treated ‘the same’ for the harms suffered, they also stress the importance of recognising individual differences. That too, will be difficult to reconcile.”

Professor Daly’s new book — Redressing Institutional Abuse of Children was launched at the Ship Inn, South Bank on Friday, April 10.

The book examines the history of responses to institutional abuse of children and analyses major Australian and Canadian cases that used civil litigation, public enquiries and redress schemes.

Drawing from first-hand accounts of survivor’s experiences, the book documents children’ memories growing up in institutions and their experiences with redress to examine if justice interests — for participation, voice, validation, vindication and offender accountable — are achieved.

Speakers at the official launch included:

  • The Hon Leneen Forde (Griffith University Chancellor and Chair of the Forde Enquiry)
  • Dr Stephen Winter (Politics and International Relations, University of Auckland)
  • Professor Clare Tilbury (Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University)
  • Dr Amanda Kaladelfos (History, Griffith University)
  • Karen Walsh (CEO Micah Projects)
  • Dennis Dodt (a Forgotten Australian)
  • Warren Strange (Acting EO, knowmore Legal Service)