John Saunders, author and survivor of child sexual abuse, invites you to join him and a panel of professionals to discuss the impact of sexual abuse on individuals, families and communities.
Byron Bay Mayor, Simon Richardson, will chair the forum. The discussion panel will consist of representatives from the mental health, legal and spiritual sectors. They will discuss six core themes: children; adult survivors; intimate relationships; family, friends & community; impacts of government & institutional policies; and, the human spirit.
A Q&A with the audience will follow, providing a safe and supportive environment for survivors to ask questions. Survivors and their families will be offered healing suggestions and legal advice. The forum will also provide the opportunity for members of the health, legal and spiritual professions to increase their awareness about child sexual abuse so they can better address the issue in their professional practices.
Presenter: John Saunders
John is the author of Sexual Abuse Survivor’s Handbook: One Man Fights the Catholic Church (2013) and soon to be published One in Six (2017), which is a personal memoir about John’s childhood abuse and recovery process. He is currently working on his third book – an uplifting novel about a man’s spiritual awakening.
John assists survivors of childhood sexual abuse through counselling, education and advocacy. He delivers public information lectures and designs and facilitates community forums. John has been actively involved in advocating for fair victim compensation and respectful reconciliation at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Q&A Panel Members Byron Bay
Frank Coorey is a Barrister who has had several clients who were victims of childhood sexual abuse. He became aware through the extent of their testimony that this abuse was highly organised.
Frank has a background in human rights activism in the region. Particularly with East Timor and the Indigenous of Australia. He was a lawyer involved in the Native Title process for the Arakwal of Byron Bay. He has also been involved in documentaries regarding Burma in the 90’s. Frank brings a rich pallet of legal knowledge, wisdom and experience to the forum this evening.
Kate Loubet is the current CEO at Heartfelt House and has over 10 years’ experience working as a group facilitator with survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma. Heartfelt House is a non-for-profit organisation based in Wollongbar NSW. that works with survivors and their families. Their aim is to have our region become one of the most educated about childhood sexual abuse and how to support adult survivors. Kate is passionate about her work and is working in collaboration with local organisations to further expand the services provided at Heartfelt. She has recently attended the Royal Commission hearing in Sydney as an expert panel member on the topic of Resilience and Hope. She is also currently studying with Southern Cross university on a research thesis to explore the impacts of group therapy. Kate’s dedication to supporting adult survivors of child abuse is exceptional and commendable.
Phil Mason, is the Spiritual Director of New Earth Tribe, Byron Bay, a Christian-based community that has been serving the wider Byron community for the past 20 years. The Tribe has a major focus on healing the heart through the power of love, community and connection.
Phil is on the panel as a representative of the healing stream of Christianity that seeks to help people from all walks of life. This includes survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Phil is an author and public speaker. He travels widely both in Australia and overseas. Phil’s devotion to the Christian spiritual Community is admirable.
Elaine Pollen is a registered Psychologist who works in private practice. Elaine has over 20 years experience working with victims of trauma across a variety of settings including mental health, fostering and adoption, child protection, family law courts and sexual assault counselling services based both within hospitals and the community. Elaine currently works provides counselling support to clients of Victims Services many of whom who have been victims of sexual abuse and several who are going through the Royal Commission process. Elaine is a vital addition to our panel with a broad knowledge of social services that we can draw upon this evening.
5.00pm – Internet Sales close
6.00pm – Venue doors open | Box Office sales open | Events Bar open
6.45pm – Theatre doors open
7.00pm – Child Sexual Abuse: A Community Conversation
10.00pm – Event concludes (There will be an interval of 20 minutes)