A PROPOSAL for a memorial recognising Ballarat’s tragic history of child sexual abuse could be considered by Ballarat City Council in coming months.
Led by Andrew Collins, survivors of abuse by members of Catholic religious orders in the region first approached former Ballarat mayor Mark Harris with the proposal last year.
Members of the current council surveyed by The Courier said last week they remained open to the proposal.
Councillor Belinda Coates said the symbolism of a memorial or public space could provide helpful recognition and acknowledgement for victims of decades of abuse.
“It is a very broad problem and, as a former counsellor advocate at the Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault, I know the devastating impact abuse has on people’s lives,” she said.
“Things of a symbolic nature are very important to people living with trauma, and I would compare this kind of recognition to the apology to Stolen Generations, which brought public recognition of impact of those events.”
The Victorian inquiry into sexual abuse was established after an internal Victoria Police report detailing as many as 40 suicides in the Ballarat region became public.
Cr Des Hudson said he would bring an open mind to any proposal that came before council.
“There is significant discussion of this issue and an ongoing investigation,” he said. “For any issue like this, part of the healing process is to have a space or place of reflection and I would be open minded about a proposal which came to council.”