Victims and their supporters made their voices heard in the fight against sexual abuse during a march on Sturt Street on Sunday afternoon.
Two years to the day after the Loud Fence movement first took to Ballarat’s streets, community members returned to make a stand and keep the issue at the forefront of public debate.
Loud Fence started during the Royal Commission into child sex abuse by the Catholic clergy in the Ballarat.
Its message was about giving support to victims so they felt comfortable enough to come forward and talk about their experience.
The Royal Commission has finished hearing from victims and maintaining support for them remains a key issue for Loud Fence members.
Survivor Rob Walsh said a lot had been achieved, but there was still much to finalise for the group, including investigations into recent claims leveled against Cardinal George Pell for alleged sexual abuse.
“There is still the issue of redress for victims, more court cases, a Pell trial and the commission’s findings in the Ballarat Diocese,” he said.
“We are not going away – we have made a stand here in Ballarat with the Loud Fence movement and it is encouraging to see it going world wide.”
Mr Walsh said the march was a significant event to help victims speak out about their experiences.
“That show of community support is heartwarming,” he said.
“It is about opening up a new path for the victims to come forward – that path is there.”
More than 100 people gathered for the march from Ballarat Town Hall to Camp Street.
As they walked with banners and ribbons they chanted their support for victims and made sure they could be heard with whistles, drums and horns.
Loud Fence founder Maureen Hatcher said the march showed the community was fearless when it acted together to stop sexual abuse.
“We are not going to go quiet against it, it is important we keep having events like this,” she said.
“I hope this event will continue to snowball, continue to get bigger and evolve.”
There were a lot of survivors attended the event and marched with supporters.
Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault’s Andrea Lockhart said she encouraged people to speak out.
“You are not alone – there are people here who have experience who can speak with you,” she said.
“Contact CASA on 5320 3933 we have a duty worker here every day.”