Fremantle people, and Western Australians more generally, are being urged to join a public rally in Fremantle next Wednesday to fight plans by the Christian Brothers to evict Tuart Place, a community service supporting hundreds of survivors of institutional child abuse in Western Australia.
Tuart Place has been operating from the 24 High Street building, opposite the Orient Hotel, for 15 years providing a unique service to adults who have been the victims of institutional trauma, including former child migrants, members of the Stolen Generations, and other care leavers.
Tuart Place provides free specialist services to adults who experienced out-of-home care during childhood (‘care leavers’). Services are offered in an informal, non-bureaucratic setting, and include:
• Trauma-informed counselling and support groups
• Assistance with National Redress Scheme applications and other institutional child sexual abuse complaints
• Specialist aged care support from a dedicated ‘Aged Care Service Navigator’
• Computer literacy and IT assistance
• Phone outreach and counselling
• Family tracing and supported access to records
• A drop-in centre, social events, and reunions.
Tuart Place Director Dr Philippa White said the premises at 24 High Street had become a safe haven and a second home for the more than 500 people who regularly used and relied on the service each year.
“The Christian Brothers are trying to take away a service that provides vital support to abuse survivors, in order to profit from the sale of the building,” Dr White said.
“The devastating irony is that the Christian Brothers have been charging us a peppercorn rent for Tuart Place as part of their commitment to address the harm caused to children in their institutions. Those children are now elderly men who need this service more than ever.”
Dr White said the service had tried to negotiate with the Christian Brothers, but they were focused on their finances, not the wellbeing of survivors.
“We do not want the people supported by Tuart Place to be the victims of another injustice.
“People whose lives have been changed through this service are fighting to keep it in a place in which they feel safe and secure, and many are saying they simply will not go,” she said.
Dr White is calling on WA folk to send a strong and clear message to the Christian Brothers and join the Save Tuart Place rally outside the High Street premises from 10.30am on Wednesday, 12 October 2022.
Tuart Place has cross-party political support with State Ministers, local and Federal MPs set to join the rally.
“Our simple message to the Christian Brothers is just let us stay and continue our work repairing some of the damage inflicted on children in institutional care.
“This is an insignificant property asset to a very wealthy Congregation. Surely supporting abuse survivors is more important than boosting those coffers”, Dr White said.
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