Recent Advocacy Work
No Place for Violence:
Berry Street Submission to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence
Berry Street’s submission in response to: Royal Commission into Family Violence is now available.
Recommendations on Redress and Civil Litigation to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Berry Street provided recommendations on Redress and Civil Litigation to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
It is our view that where children and young people have been further harmed while in care they must receive professional assistance and support including a full and proper Redress.
Redress must include:
- An acknowledgement of the harm An apology from the most senior person in the organisation
- Ongoing counselling and support A financial payment as an acknowledgement of the wrong they experienced
- An undertaking from the institution to review policies and processes to ensure past mistakes are not repeated.
We commend the approach of the Royal Commission in exploring these matters in a considered and collaborative manner.
While we look forward to hearing the final recommendations of this Royal Commission, we call on the Federal Government to fully support a national Redress scheme.
Redress Submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Berry Street’s submission in response to: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is now available.
Save Foster Care in 2014
Financial stress on foster carers to meet the basic needs of the children in their care has become so severe that many carers are unable to continue fostering children.
The Foster Care Association of Victoria (FCAV) and Berry Street are working to secure an immediate increase in the financial support provided to Foster Carers in Victoria. You can find out more below and take action including writing to your local member of parliament.
Campaign to save Foster Care - read more >
Royal Commission into child sexual abuse
On Monday 12 November 2012 the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a national Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia.
Berry Street is one of many agencies that called for a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse within religious and other organisations. Our submission to the current Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into the criminal abuse of children recommended that a Royal Commission be called.
Berry Street’s role with the Royal Commission
The Royal Commission will scrutinise how Berry Street (and other agencies) have cared for children and how we respond to any allegations of past abuse. Our procedures for responding to allegations were reviewed in 2012 and have been provided to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the criminal abuse of children. We see the scrutiny of a Royal Commission as an essential element in Berry Street and all agencies and institutions being held accountable for our practice. Berry Street will cooperate in whatever way we can with the work of the Royal Commission including making submissions, releasing information and encouraging past Berry Street clients to provide evidence.
Parliamentary Enquiry - 2012
In 2011 an independent inquiry was held into the child protection system in Victoria, the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry, PVVCI. The inquiry made recommendations in relation to religious organisations and the abuse of children and young people. Specifically it recommended that:
- Staff, volunteers and personnel of religious organisations must report child abuse to the Police and that;
- The State Government conduct a special inquiry into how religious organisations are dealing with allegations and claims from adults who allege that they were abused by a priest or someone else from that religious organisation when they were a child.
The Victorian Premier announced that the State Parliament Family and Community Development Committee would conduct this new inquiry. Berry Street is making a submission to the inquiry and is encouraging past clients of Berry Street to also make submissions. The committee is receiving written submissions up until August 31st.
Child Protection Inquiry announced – finding solutions in ‘the Valley’ (May 2011)
The announcement of yet another inquiry into child protection could well be greeted with a degree of cynicism. Terms of reference for this inquiry provide hope that attention will turn to the underlying causes and, Berry Street hopes, regional factors that see some children far more likely to be removed from their families than others.
Carer Support: Berry Street is pursuing better support for carers including improved financial support (December 2010)
A carer in Victoria in receipt of general carer payment that looked after a child from age 1 to 15 would receive $64,038 less than a carer in NSW for doing the same thing.
Alliance Calls for Election Commitment to Vulnerable Children (November 2010)
The development of a Vulnerable Children’s Framework would help break the cycle of family violence, child abuse and child neglect by providing a mechanism to integrate and escalate reform priorities.