Sexual abuse victims encouraged to seek support

February 11, 2014 by Ayal Tusia
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The President of Jewish Care Victoria, Mike Debinski, has urged anyone who believes they experienced physical or sexual abuse in children’s homes covered by the organisation’s special support scheme to make confidential contact with our independent Support Scheme.

Mike Debinski

Mike Debinski

Last November Jewish Care Victoria established the independent Children in Residential Care Support Scheme after three people contacted the organisation indicating that they were abused in residential care in the 1960s.

Since then a number of others have also come forward and reported abuse to the scheme.

Mr Debinski praised the courage of those who had made contact. He said the scheme, headed by eminent jurist and academic Professor Louis Waller, had assessed all claims and was providing assistance including counselling, case management and support.

Professor Waller said the scheme demonstrated best practice in handling historical institutional abuse claims within a Jewish cultural context.

“The scheme has integrity, and at its heart, is focused on the best interests of people who have experienced abuse.

“I am glad that former residents of the homes have had the confidence to come forward, and I hope that the acknowledgement and support they are receiving as a result will help their healing.”

The scheme covers four children’s homes – Frances Barkman House, and then three homes called Frances Barkman Homes – in Balwyn and Caulfield between 1939 and 1992.

Mr Debinski said Jewish Care Victoria was guided by its ethos of kindness, family, respect and charity. Even though the institutions concerned no longer existed, Jewish Care Victoria had established the scheme because it had a moral responsibility given the history of previous Jewish community organisations that operated the homes.

Mr Debinski said the scheme had been extensively promoted with advertising and coverage in community media to help reach former residents of the homes. Jewish Care Victoria always envisaged a defined lifespan for the scheme, and would wind it up on the 31st March 2014.

Anyone in the Jewish community who experienced physical or sexual abuse in these homes should make confidential contact on the special free call number 1800 112 522 or email supportscheme@jewishcare.org.au. Further details are available at www.jewishcare.org.au/supportscheme.

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