Abuse advocate pleads to make police gazettes public

CLAN CEO Leonie Sheedy looking over police gazettes.

CLAN CEO Leonie Sheedy looking over police gazettes.

The Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN) has slammed the state government for denying victims of child sexual abuse access to police gazettes.

CLAN is a national group that supports and advocates for people who were emotionally, physically and sexually abused in Australian orphanages, children’s homes and in foster care.

Victoria and Tasmania provide access to police gazettes, but NSW does not, the public can’t access NSW police gazette’s until 70 years have passed.

CLAN CEO Leonie Sheedy said allowing public access to NSW police gazettes may be the only way abuse victims could get redress or government compensation.

“In order to get access to government-funded services and redress you need to show confirmation of being placed in an institution,” she said.

“Many of those records have been destroyed and if that’s the case, an abuse victim would have no chance of receiving compensation or redress. But if you absconded from an orphanage, a children’s home or foster care to escape abuse there could be a police record of that. 

“Police gazettes may be the only record that a person was in one of these institutions and that is why they should be made public.” 

An example of a person that was able to prove they were in an institution by the police gazette warrant report.

An example of a person that was able to prove they were in an institution by the police gazette warrant report.

A spokesperson for Minister for Police Troy Grant said if the public were to get access to police gazettes, information might be disclosed about criminal investigations and police methodology that is not appropriate for public consumption.

“The NSW Police have advised that the gazettes are not open for public access for 70 years after publication because of the sensitive and potentially private information they contain, such as personal information about people who may still be alive,” the spokesperson said.

Ms Sheedy said that explanation was weak and showed a lack of concern for care leavers.

“Police gazettes are available to the public in Tasmania and Victoria, so why can’t they be available in NSW?”, she said. 

“For many people, their time in these institutions included severe beatings, violations of their dignity the loss of their family and sexual abuse. These Australian children were mistreated by our own governments, churches and charities and lived in constant fear and trauma.

“This is a chance for Troy Grant to do some good before he retires, it could be his legacy.”

For more information contact CLAN on 1800 008 774.

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