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. Implementation of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse across Queensland Government.
  3. National Redress Scheme - including providing advice to the Queensland Government about their participation in the National Redress Scheme.
  4. Contemporary out-of-home care.
  5. 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 10 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 Children and Youth Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs 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, 540 KB).

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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.

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Questionnaire

Seeking the views of people with lived experience, their supports and service providers

Since 2020, the Taskforce have been travelling Queensland with its ‘Listening Tour’ to talk with people with lived experience of institutional child abuse, their friends, supporters and service providers. The COVID-19 health pandemic has posed several challenges in recent years and has limited the Taskforce’s ability to travel, leading the Taskforce to develop alternative ways to hear from people.

The Taskforce remain committed to hearing from people with lived experience and will continue this conversation through a range of ways, including through a questionnaire. It is hoped that the questionnaire will provide an opportunity for people to share their views and thoughts on a range of topics related to the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

Through this questionnaire, the Taskforce seeks to better understand the impact of the Royal Commission in Queensland. Our questions are:

  • Has the Royal Commission made a difference in the lives of people with lived experience?
  • Is the community more informed about the impact of child abuse in institutions?
  • Do service providers have the knowledge, skills and resources to prevent and respond to child abuse in institutional settings?
  • Are people with lived experience getting the help and support they need?

The information gathered from the questionnaire will be used to inform the advice that the Taskforce provides to the Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs. No names or any personally identifying details will be published in the report provided to the Minister.

The questionnaire (PDF, 586 KB) questionnaire (DOCX, 1.8 MB) is available online or if you would like a printed copy to be mailed to you please contact the Taskforce Secretariat on (07) 3097 5793 or via email taskforce.secretariat@cyjma.qld.gov.au.

Please submit responses to the Questionnaire by Friday 19 August 2022.

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Statewide Community Forums

A series of community forums will be held to provide information on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the National Redress Scheme, as part of the Taskforce ‘Listening Tour’. 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. Community Forums have been held in Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Cairns, Townsville, Maroochydore, Rockhampton and Roma.

Upcoming forums will be held in:

If you would like to receive information on the forums when it becomes available please contact taskforce.secretariat@cyjma.qld.gov.au

Each community forum provides an overview of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, along with a discussion on the National Redress Scheme - provided by knowmore Legal Service.

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 other community forums, please see upcoming events.

Community Forum – Gold Coast

The second Taskforce forum was held on the Gold Coast on 21 May 2021, with over 50 people in attendance, including people with lived experience and a wide variety of service providers. The Taskforce were privileged to work alongside knowmore Legal Service to ensure information was provided on the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme). Redress Support Services were also in attendance and provided an overview of what an application to the Scheme may look like for a person applying, including the types of supports available. Additionally, discussions were held on the impacts of institutional child abuse and how services and individuals can better support people with lived experience.

Community Forum - Townsville and Cairns

The Taskforce hosted two community forums in Townsville and Cairns in June 2021, with close to 100 people in attendance across the two forums. Discussion was held on people's awareness of the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) and the need for more targeted promotion to ensure people are aware of what the Scheme is and how they can access it. While in Cairns the Taskforce spent some time with Cape York/Gulf Remote Area Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care Advisory Association (RAATSICC), discussing the Counselling and Psychological Care (CPC) component of the Scheme and how this can best work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Community Forum - Rockhampton

The Taskforce had the privilege of hosting 49 people along to a community forum in Rockhampton, with those attending travelling from various locations to be apart of the forum. While in Rockhampton, the Taskforce met with people with lived experience over lunch at Lotus Place. The Taskforce also travelled to the Neerkol Orphanage Memorial Gardens to pay our respects to those who were placed at Neerkol Orphanage. The Taskforce would like to extend our thanks to those who met with us while in Rockhampton and shared their experiences of institutional child abuse.

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Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Grants Program

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

The grants program, delivered by the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, provides funding of up to $10,000 for individual applications and $15,000 for joint applications, 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
  • explore the impact of institutional child abuse.

Applications for the 2022 grant round are now available, closing Wednesday 8 June 2022. For more information please visit the funding available page on the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs website.

Successful activities for the 2021-22 grants program

The successful recipients of the third round of grant funding for the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Grants Program have been released.

The five successful grant recipients for 2021-22 are:

  • Queensland Writers Centre to help publish a book written by well-known child protection resource author Tess Rowley, alongside people with lived experience called ‘Remembering Nazareth House’
  • Micah Projects, in partnership with Global Community Resourcing and the Forde Foundation to host a roundtable on aged and community care services for Forgotten Australians, which will explore their experiences and the impact this will have on people entering aged care facilities
  • The Uniting Church of Australia for the establishment of a memorial garden and plaque, which will be located on the grounds of the Uniting Church of Australia Queensland Synod
  • Centre Against Sexual Violence for art therapy workshops across the Greater Brisbane region for people with a lived experience, and
  • Yourtown to help establish a Youth Advisory Group for young people aged 18-25 with a lived experience of out-of-home care so they can help shape the organisation’s response to institutional child abuse.

These groups will share in over $49,000 in funding to deliver activities, events and resources to raise awareness of abuse in institutional care, and to contribute towards truth-telling, healing activities and reconciling histories in Queensland.

For more information please read the media statement.

2020-21 successful grant recipients announced

Five Queensland organisations will share in more than $53,000 in funding to help raise awareness about institutional child abuse and promote truth, healing and reconciliation.

The five successful grant recipients are: 

  • SANDBAG Community Centre to develop resources for a story telling project
  • Bravehearts Foundation Limited to stage a community event to promote healing for women on Palm Island who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse
  • Link-Up (QLD) to engage with past and present clients to create art which promotes truth, healing and reconciliation
  • The Centre for Women & Co in partnership with Redlands City Council to compile a digital story about male survivors of institutional child sexual abuse
  • Pormpur Paanthu Aboriginal Corporation for a local health campaign for adults who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.

For more information please read the media statement.

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.

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.

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Taskforce news and events

4th National Child Protection Forum

This forum was held in late July 2021, with Mr Bob Atkinson presenting virtually to those attending in Darwin. Mr Atkinson spoke on the key recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission), along with the importance of maintaining the momentum of the Royal Commission.

University of Southern Queensland: Vulnerable Persons Conference

In May 2021, Mr Bob Atkinson presented on the Royal Commission, the work of the Taskforce, Youth Justice and the work of the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council at the 2nd Vulnerable Persons Conference, hosted by the University of Southern Queensland, in Toowoomba. This conference was well attended by a range of stakeholders, including, but not limited to Queensland Police, Queensland Health, Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, Domestic and Family Violence services, Queensland Education and a number of law firms.

Act for Kids Academy Launch

Bob, as Chair, was pleased to speak on behalf of the Taskforce at the launch of the Act for Kids Academy in October 2020. The training program discusses how organisations can become child safe, with activities on how to identify if a child is disclosing abuse and how to report it. Bob spoke of the importance of programs such as this, to continue to educate the community on how better to respond to children and young people. More information on the training package can be found by visiting the Act for Kids website.

Changing Futures Queensland Forum

Bob presented at the Changing Futures Queensland Forum, hosted by the Daniel Morcombe Foundation in November 2020. Bob covered the Royal Commission and the findings related to harmful sexual behaviours. Additionally, Bob discussed the role of the Taskforce, and how government and non-government stakeholders can work together to ensure the recommendations of the Royal Commission are implemented in Queensland. More information on Changing Futures can be found by visiting the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

Presentation on Sport and Recreation recommendations

Bob, as Chair of the Taskforce was invited, alongside staff from the Redress Coordination/Secretariat Unit of the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs (DCYJMA), to present to Queensland Government staff of Sport and Recreation on Wednesday 26 August 2020. Bob provided insight into the Royal Commission, and provided specific information on the findings of Volume 14, related to Sport and Recreation. Those in attendance spoke highly of Bob's presentation and the information that they received, particularly on the National Redress Scheme.

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.

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 Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs
Locked Bag 3405
Brisbane Qld 4001
emailing us: taskforce.secretariat@cyjma.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 writing to us:

Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce
Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs
Locked Bag 3405
Brisbane Qld 4001
Email: taskforce.secretariat@cyjma.qld.gov.au