CLAN Media Release - 24 July 2017

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Pell’s court appearance may trigger traumatic memories for abuse survivors


The reporting of Cardinal George Pell’s appearance in a Melbourne court this week may trigger traumatic memories for survivors of child sexual abuse.


Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN) CEO Leonie Sheedy said many Care Leavers may find the case involving allegations against Australia’s highest ranking Catholic deeply distressing, particularly those people who were abused in Australia’s Orphanages, Children’s Homes, Foster Care and other institutions.


“Many Care Leavers are survivors of sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic Church. But, even those Care Leavers who lived in state or other church and charity run institutions may find the reporting of events this week triggers painful and traumatic memories,” Ms Sheedy said.


“I know of one Care Leaver who has already committed self-harm because the publicity around this case revived terrible memories of the sexual abuse he suffered in a Catholic run Orphanage.  


“We urge all Care Leavers to take care of themselves this week and turn off news reports or media coverage of the case if they find it too upsetting.


“We also ask journalists and other members of the media to remember that because this case is exceptional in terms of public and international interest it has the potential to cause far more distress than previously reported court cases.


“We kindly request that media organisations include our details in their stories so that people who experienced sexual abuse in Orphanages, Children’s Homes, Foster Care and other institutions can get the help and support they need.”


If you or someone you know grew up in an Australian Orphanage, Children’s Home, Foster Care or other institution and require support please contact Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN) on 1800 008 774.



For more information please contact CLAN CEO Leonie Sheedy

M: 0425 204 747 E:

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