Grace Tame left out of drafting national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse


Grace Tame has been bizarrely snubbed by the government in the drafting of a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse.

Despite lived experience and tireless advocacy, Australian of the Year Grace Tame has been bizarrely snubbed by the federal government in the drafting of a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse, details of which are set to be announced next week.

The 10-year plan, revealed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Parliament on Thursday, will include extra law enforcement measures and support for victims and survivors – with $146 million set aside by the Commonwealth for the strategy’s first four years.

Ms Tame is one of Australia’s best known advocates for survivors of sexual assault. A survivor of child sexual abuse herself, Ms Tame was repeatedly raped by her 58-year-old teacher when she was just 15, and then forced to fight a legal battle through the Let Her Speak campaign for the freedom to tell her story.

But during an appearance on ABC News at Noon to talk about Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Week today, the 26-year-old activist revealed she wasn’t aware of the new national strategy and had not been consulted on the details.

“The government’s announcing details of a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse next week. I am presuming you have been involved in the drafting of that. What can we expect?” host Ros Childs asked Ms Tame.

“No,” Ms Tame responded.

“You haven’t been?” Childs, incredulous, asked.

“I haven’t been involved in the drafting of that,” Ms Tame said.

After Childs suggested that Ms Tame “would [have] like to have been [involved]”, Ms Tame said, “sure”.

“That is my job, and I have been banging on about it all year – that we should be focusing on prevention. But I am not going to be a malcontent and complain I haven’t been invited to participate in that,” she added.

Asked by Childs when she first became aware that the strategy was happening and the announcement would be next week, Ms Tame replied, “You just told me now.”

“Are you going to be making a few calls and sending a few emails after this?” Childs asked.

“No, I don’t think there is any need to be doing that,” Ms Tame said.

Ms Tame, who every day this week has used her platform to highlight one of the six phases of grooming, told Childs she hoped that the strategy would include “teaching kids as early as possible to know their rights, and also to be aware of these behaviours”.

“It is not the responsibility of children. Abuse. That is not fair. It is the responsibility of adults and the responsibility of the whole community to tackle the issue of child sexual abuse. It needs to be a multifaceted approach,” she explained.

“We need to hear from the survivors, experts; we need the impact of policy and decision-makers, we need educators. Everyone needs to be involved. The focus will be on prevention. As we know, the primary means of prevention is education. Knowledge is power. We need to be equipping kids as early as possible.”

While the topic of grooming is “very complicated and very dark, very heavy”, Ms Tame said that there “are ways to tailor these concepts and make palatable for anyone of any age, because this is a message that everybody needs to hear”.

“The more we talk about this and stop focusing on necessarily the rape and molestation that makes a nice big headline that grabs people’s attention, and really focus on the details and take that power away from perpetrators by filling in these ignorance gaps, these knowledge gaps we have as a collective society,” she said.

“I think that is really important.”

The snub is not dissimilar to September’s Women’s Safety Summit, when Brittany Higgins – who was allegedly raped by a fellow staffer at Parliament House in 2019 and has been a major figurehead in the movement to end sexual violence in Australia – revealed she initially hadn’t been invited to the event.

On Twitter at the time, Ms Higgins thanked the ACT government and the Victims of Crime Commission who “kindly stepped in at the last minute” to invite her as a delegate.





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Author: Shirley

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