The Care leavers Australia Network (CLAN) is calling for the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse to address abuse in child care institutions around the nation. Leonie Sheedy, the co-founder and CEO of CLAN was appearing before the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry. The inquiry heard that in a survey of hundreds of former State Wards a few years ago, more than 44% said they had been sexually abused during their time in care. Ms Sheedy said “We need to give people who were raised in Government run orphanages, an opportunity to tell a story and many of our members… they had experiences in Government orphanages and then they went to a church or a charity. There were sadist and sexual predators in all forms. They could get access to us because we were society’s throw away children. We have discovered that 3,229 children absconded in 18 years. This figure for children running away from institutions was just for Victoria alone. And nobody recorded why the children kept running away.” Ms Sheedy told the inquiry that the police typically would not believe that Catholic nuns and brothers were abusing the children in their care.
Ms Sheedy went on to say, “We were the Government’s children and why isn’t the Government of Victoria charged with being a neglectful parent.”
Ms Sheedy also said, “I am hoping that the Federal Government compels the churches and charities and the State Governments to contribute to a national reparation fund. After all, children in orphanages were child labour. The girls were made to work in laundries; the boys were made to work on farms. We got minimal education and opportunities that our peers enjoyed as a human right. She went on to say, “… we are hopeful that the terms of reference will be extended to all forms of abuse and we are lobbying Nicola Roxon, Jenny Macklin and all of CLAN’s patrons… We need to broaden it out to all forms of criminal assault”.