Free service gives legal support to sex abuse victims

VICTIMS of sexual abuse on the Northern Rivers who are considering talking to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse can now access a free legal advisory service.

The service, called knowmore, provides expert legal advice and support by phone and face-to-face meetings with victims.

Executive officer Jenny Hardy said information provided to the service, which is independent of the royal commission, was confidential.

"From what we have seen of the work of the royal commission so far there is clearly large numbers of people on the Northern Rivers region who have suffered abuse," she said.

Ms Hardy said many abuse victims had developed mistrust for institutions through their experiences.

"There are still many people out there who haven't yet engaged with the royal commission and might be thinking about it that might have legal concerns or worries about what information they provide to the royal commission.

"The royal commission is a unique opportunity to investigate how institutions and governments can better protect children, and put in place measures to make sure the failings of the past aren't repeated."

"If people choose to engage with the royal commission we can assist them and support them."

A national phone hotline was the first contact for knowmore.

As a large proportion of indigenous people spent time in institutions, a team of indigenous liaison officers had been assigned to knowmore.

"We are also doing outreach work so if there are particular groups that would like us to come out and speak with them we are happy to do that."

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