CHILD sex abuse survivor John Skewes joined the Children of Phoenix Reclaiming Our City awareness walk for one reason.
“I want to add to the body of people. I want to swell it so the message is sent that child sexual abuse is wrong,” Mr Skewes said.
About 30 people released purple balloons at the Olympic Rings before walking around Lake Wendouree on Friday.
Bill, who did not want to use his last name, was also a victim.
“It means an enormous amount to the victims to see such a show of solidarity and support,” Bill said.
“They’re heroes, those who made disclosures that have been very costly in many cases.
“It can up break up extended families and cause a stigma to those who expose it.”
Children of Phoenix Foundation chairman Professor Caroline Taylor said the balloon release was a symbolic gesture acknowledging the courageous survivors.
“By walking, we help make the victim survivors visible,” Professor Taylor said.
“An offender thanks us every time we don’t believe a victim so I want them to be heard and supported.”
Ballarat Police Superintendent Andrew Allen said supporting victims was an important part of policing.
“From my perspective, having been involved in major crime and sexual assault units, it’s particularly important not to forget the victims,” Superintendent Allen said.
“Children of Phoenix has that ability to encourage those victims to remain strong and not be a victim but a survivor.”