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Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce

Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce

About the Taskforce

The Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce (the Taskforce) was established by the Queensland Government on 3 September 2018. The Taskforce will provide for the views of those who have experienced institutional child abuse, support services and organisations in advice to the Queensland Government on implementing the reforms arising from the Royal Commission.

The Taskforce also provides advice on a grants program for activities that contribute to truth, healing and reconciling histories.

The image used by the Taskforce is of a tapestry. The tapestry weaves together the individual threads of Taskforce members, the threads of people with lived experience, their supporters and services, with Queensland Government agencies and the community, into a rich and comprehensive fabric.

Acknowledgements

The Taskforce acknowledges all that has come before and led us to where we are now.

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as our First Nations and Traditional Owners of the land.

We acknowledge all people with lived experience of institutional child abuse.

We also acknowledge:

  • the Stolen Generations
  • the Forgotten Australians and Child Migrants whose experiences were recognised through the 1999 Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, known as the Forde Inquiry.
  • people who as children in the care of the State of Queensland were inappropriately placed in adult mental health facilities
  • people harmed in out-of-home care
  • people affected by forced adoptions.

We recognise the harm experienced by many in the past and are committed to keeping this at the forefront of our work.

Vision and purpose

Its vision is for a Queensland where children are protected, safe and supported to reach their full potential. Its purpose is to raise awareness of institutional child abuse and its impacts, to drive changes that will protect children, and provide a holistic response to support, justice and healing for people with lived experience across Queensland.

Values

The Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce upholds the following values:

  • Commitment: We are dedicated to the work of the Taskforce and putting the learnings from the Royal Commission into action. We add value to Royal Commission reforms in Queensland.
  • Truth: We continue the path formed by the Royal Commission, revealing the truth about institutional child abuse and its impact.
  • Integrity: We are a trustworthy and credible voice for change. We are honest, open and transparent in what we do.
  • Respect: We listen to and respect each other, and everyone that comes into contact with us and our work.
  • Innovation: We are open to new ideas, and ways of working together and with others.

Priorities

The Taskforce's key priorities include:

  1. Increasing community awareness and getting out and talking to people - this includes educating the public about the work of the Royal Commission and its 409 recommendations, and giving those with lived experience of institutional child abuse an opportunity to voice their concerns, provide input and feedback.
  2. Legislative reform - taking an active role in examining institutional child abuse reforms, raising questions, discussing issues and providing feedback to the government on these reforms.
  3. National Redress Scheme - including providing advice to the Queensland Government about their participation in the National Redress Scheme.
  4. Support services - compiling a comprehensive list of support services and websites for people with lived experience of child abuse and their families.
  5. Access to records - providing information about how people can access records of their time in care.
  6. Engagement across all levels of the Queensland Community - the Taskforce will continue to grow its profile in the community through engagement with people with lived experience, services and organisations and government.

Taskforce members

The Taskforce is chaired by Mr Robert (Bob) Atkinson AO APM and comprises of 9 members, some of whom have lived experience.

Find out about the Taskforce members.

Terms of Reference

The role of the Taskforce is to provide advice to the Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and the Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence on key issues relating to the implementation of reforms arising from the Royal Commission, and provide advice on a grants program for truth, healing and reconciliation activities.

Read about the Taskforce’s Terms of Reference and Supporting Guidelines (PDF, 509 KB) Terms of Reference and Supporting Guidelines (DOCX, 706 KB).

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Upcoming Events

Throughout 2020 the Taskforce will be holding a 'Listening Tour' across Queensland. These forums will provide information on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the National Redress Scheme. It will also be an opportunity to provide your opinion, thoughts and feedback on the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations in Queensland.

It is important to the Taskforce that we hear the voices of people with lived experience of institutional child abuse, their supporters and organisations working in this field.

Listening Tour Locations:

Rockhampton, 23 April 2020

The Taskforce will be in Rockhampton on 23 April 2020 to hold a public forum that will include presentations on the work of the Royal Commission and information about the National Redress Scheme, with break-out sessions for discussion. Feedback provided by service providers, support services and people with lived experience will inform the Taskforce's advice to the Queensland Government.

This forum is open to service providers, people with lived experience of institutional child abuse and their supporters.

Other locations for 2020:

  • Gympie, 30 April 2020
  • Cairns, 23 June 2020
  • Townsville, 25 June 2020
  • Mt Isa, 22 July 2020
  • Gold Coast, 7 August 2020
  • Logan, 26 August 2020
  • Brisbane, 8 September 2020
  • Ipswich, 16 September 2020
  • Caboolture, 23 September 2020

For more information on each location please contact the Taskforce.

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How can people with lived experience engage with the Taskforce?

It is important the Taskforce continues to hear the voices of people with lived experience. Written submissions are encouraged from people with lived experience about the impact of institutional child abuse, and how people can be better supported.

The role of the Taskforce does not extend to considering or advocating for individual cases, or continuing the practice of the Royal Commission of holding private sessions. As an advisory body, the Taskforce does not have an oversight or monitoring role in the implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations by Queensland Government agencies or other institutions.

The Taskforce will run until December 2022. This supports the Queensland Government’s commitment to report annually on the implementation of Royal Commission recommendations for 5 consecutive years.

Grants program

The Truth, Healing and Reconciliation grants program supports the recommendation by the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse to reveal the truth of what happened to children and contribute to healing and reconciliation in Queensland.

The grants program provides funding of up to $10,000 for community groups and organisations to undertake projects related to truth, healing and reconciling histories of people with lived experience of institutional child abuse, across Queensland communities.

Funded activities will:

  • acknowledge and raise awareness of institutional child abuse and its impact
  • support those with lived experience to speak out and share their stories in a way that is safe, supported, and promotes better understanding by the broader community and institutions
  • are of importance to people with lived experience such as events and reunions
  • develop memorials and monuments that are of significance to those with a lived experience
  • undertake research in the area of institutional child abuse, acknowledging other forms of abuse
  • explore the impact of institutional child abuse and other forms of abuse.

Applications for 2020 will be opening soon. Please watch this space for information when it becomes available.

2019 successful grant recipients announced

The Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce is pleased to support the five successful organisations for the truth, healing and reconciliation grants program recently announced by the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.

Five organisations were successful in sharing $45,000 to raise awareness about the impact of institutional child abuse through events, programs and initiatives.

The five successful grant recipients are:

  • Cape York/Gulf Remote Area Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care Advisory Association to facilitate community conversations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Friends of the Aged to develop a training video for aged care staff exploring experiences of Forgotten Australians.
  • Hillbrook Anglican School to develop a permanent memorial.
  • Link-Up QLD to host music therapy workshops for people who have experienced child sexual abuse.
  • Micah Projects - Lotus Place to host creative writing workshops.

For more information you can read the Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence media statement.

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Taskforce news and events

Community Forum - Toowoomba

The first community forum, as part of the Taskforce 'Listening Tour' was held in Toowoomba on 13 February 2020. Over 60 people attended, including people with lived experience and a range of service providers. An overview of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was provided, along with discussion on the National Redress Scheme and implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations in Queensland. For more information on the locations of other community forums, please see upcoming events.

Discussion on the learnings from Canada and Australia

The Taskforce hosted a forum during Child Protection Week at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. Diane, a member of the Taskforce was our MC for the event and provided the audience with information on the Taskforce. The purpose of the forum was to hear from Dr Marie Wilson, former Commissioner, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and Bob Atkinson, Chair of the Taskforce and former Commissioner, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, on their learnings on institutional child abuse. The event was well attended by many government, non-government and people with lived experience, and provided many thought provoking questions to consider. We thank our Taskforce member Karyn Walsh and Micah Projects for the opportunity to host Marie.

South West Child Protection Symposium

During Child Protection Week 2019, Bob our Chair was a keynote speaker at the Toowoomba University of Southern Queensland, South West Child Protection Symposium. This conference was held in partnership between many government and non-government organisations in the region. Bob spoke of his role as a Commissioner, of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Taskforce, as well as his learnings and observations about child abuse and child abuse prevention. Many organisations were interested in the work of the Taskforce and discussion has begun for a forum, hosted by the Taskforce to be held in Toowoomba in late 2019/early 2020. Watch this space!

Day at Cherbourg

In July we were privileged to be invited to attend and speak to the former Boys and Girls of the Cherbourg dormitory and attend the opening of the new exhibition of the Ration Shed Museum. The day was filled with dancing, singing and beautiful food. The new museum, which took four years to be finalised, brought many emotions to the surface for those who attended. The exhibition is a testament to the Boys and Girls of the Cherbourg dormitory and their ongoing strength and courage. For more information on the museum and to find out how you can visit, please go to www.rationshed.com.au.

National Child Protection Conference

On the 24 June 2019, the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce had its first presentation at the National Child Protection Conference, hosted by Peakcare in Brisbane. It was a unique opportunity for Taskforce chair Bob Atkinson AO APM, to speak about his work as a Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This set the scene for Taskforce members with lived experience of institutional child sexual abuse, who presented the work of the Taskforce, in particular its key messages and priorities for 2019.

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Communique

Further information on the work of the Taskforce can be read in the following Communique's.

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Annual Reports

Each year an annual report is produced with a summary of the highlights and work of the Taskforce. These can be found below:

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Media statements

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Resources

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Contact us

People with lived experience can contact the Taskforce at any time. You can do this by:

  • writing to us:
    Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce
    Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women
    Locked Bag 3405
    Brisbane Qld 4001

  • emailing us: taskforce.secretariat@csyw.qld.gov.au

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Contact us

People with lived experience can contact the Taskforce at any time.

You can do this by: