14 Jan 2013

Gillard pays tribute to abuse survivors

7:35 am on 14 January 2013

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has met child sexual abuse survivors and advocates, a day after announcing appointments to a royal commmission into abuse in institutions.

Ms Gillard met with about 30 abuse survivors and advocates at Kirribilli House in Sydney on Saturday.

The Prime Minister said there were traumatic times ahead for child sexual abuse victims as the inquiry into child sexual abuse in institutions swings into action, but its recommendations will hopefully bring healing to the Australian nation.

"Yesterday's announcement is a tribute to you for having sustained that campaign after many, many long years," Ms Gillard said.

"I can't promise you there are easy days ahead. I suspect there are some very traumatic days ahead as people come and tell what happened to them, many of them for the very first time."

Child abuse victims had suffered many years of being "shunned and spurned and having doors slammed in their face", Ms Gillard said.

"It's your time now to tell your story.

The royal commission was broadly welcomed by those present at the morning tea, with advocate Dr Wayne Chamley telling the prime minister, "We want to thank you for your courage".

Dr Chamley, of Broken Rites, told AAP he was particularly pleased with the appointment of Justice Peter McClellan as head of the six-member commission.

"This is going to determine how we care for and protect and cherish our children in the future," he said.

John Hennessy of Child Migrants Trust carried a photograph of his late British mother, May Mary Hennessy, who was told he was dead before he was shipped to a Western Australian Christian Brothers institution.

"I think it vindicates everything we've been fighting for for 25 years," Mr Hennessy said of the royal commission.

The commissioners are expected to hold a telephone hook-up on Monday and their first face-to-face meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

The commission is expected to provide an interim report by the end of June 2014 and will wind up in December 2015.