When it comes to society’s most vulnerable, children are top of the list.
Their wellbeing and protection was the focus of this year’s Vulnerable Persons Conference at the University of Southern Queensland.
The conference drew academics, industry affiliates and survivors from across the state to discuss the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse findings.
Senior lecturer and event co-organiser Dr Suzanne Reich said the conference was about “broadening the net”.
“We’re using the Royal Commission findings as a springboard into other areas and issues,” Dr Reich said.
“As a University, we’re providing an opportunity for people to work together, form networks and hear from different parts of the sector.
“In any form of abuse, and particularly in terms of children, it doesn’t just happen in one area, one way or in any one context.
“Because of that, it takes people in many different sectors of the community to recognise it and respond, and be effective in those responses.”
Dr Reich said the response to the quality of the speakers had been “overwhelmingly positive”.
“They all bring a different perspective, but together it provides a more holistic picture,” she said.
“And this topic is so important, these are our kids – they’re our future.
“If we can do something to create a better future for them, we should.”
Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce Chair Bob Atkinson was one of six commissioners for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“While there is a momentum at the moment in relation to important issues our society faces, such as domestic violence, it’s important to keep that momentum going,” Mr Atkinson said.
“One of the risks with the Royal Commission is people say, look there was a five year Royal Commission into that and it cost a lot of money so problem fixed – and it’s not.
“That’s why ongoing study is important, we need to make sure the way we manage these issues is underpinned by evidence-based research.
“Events like this are critical and we are grateful to the University for hosting this forum.”
New South Wales Ageing and Disability Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald was also in attendance, speaking on the different types of vulnerability and their links.
The Vulnerable Persons Conference is a biennial event that aims to raise awareness on issues associated with vulnerability in society. It features a diverse range of presentations from criminal justice representatives, legal practitioners, victims’ services and emergency services.
This year’s event was organised by University of Southern Queensland academics Dr Suzanne Reich, Kathy Reeves and India Bryce.
Sponsor Kara Best speaks with Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce Chair Bob Atkinson during the event.