Forget-me-not day

(11am 12 November 2011, Redfern Park)

Thank you. I would like firstly to acknowledge the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

I also thank the Babana men's group for the smoking ceremony and acknowledge Councillor Irene Doutney; Pamella Vernon of the Alliance of Forgotten Australians; Rev Andrew Collis of South Sydney Uniting Church; John Teer, chairperson of ASCA and the ASCA board members..

South Sydney Uniting Church has done an important thing in hosting today's recognition ceremony.

In the lead up to the third annual Forget-Me-Knot Day next Saturday, November 19 it is important to be reminded of the more than two million Australians who are survivors of child abuse.

It's also an important recognition of the work one by Adults Surviving Child Abuse since its formation in 1995. ACSA provides a range of services including a support line and information and courses not only for survivors but for health professionals and other workers.

It is doing a terrific job in raising awareness and educating us all.

What was once kept in darkness is being brought into the open. Too often, victims are taught to blame themselves, rather than the perpetrator. Many survivors are haunted well into their adult lives, and it requires painstaking and constant work to un-learn the shame and free themselves from blame.

So together with ASCA and the South Sydney Uniting Church, we hope this ceremony will give people who have been abused an opportunity to connect with their friends and their community in an environment without fear and prejudice.

As a city, we are committed to building a just and compassionate Sydney, one where everyone can feel safe and valued. Opportunities for survivors of childhood abuse to be heard, to be appreciated and recognised will help build understanding which is the basis of the just and compassionate society we want.

I hope this ceremony will be an important step towards achieving that and once again I thank all those involved in its organisation.