Upcoming Workshops and Training

Children of Phoenix are delighted to be providing Personal Development Workshops for Catholic Education Staff aligned with Victorian Teaching Standards in regards to sexual abuse.  To compliment these professional workshops for Education Staff, Children of Phoenix will provide community awareness workshops for the Ballarat community.  Specifically to demystify community perceptions of child sexual abuse in terms of its prevalence and the context where most abuse occurs and making the community feel more confident and empowered to respond to victims and be proactive about the issue of child sexual abuse in our community.

Roteract Movie Night

Children of Phoenix has been selected as a local charity of choice by the Ballarat Roteracts for 2014 for support.  To kick the year off early a movie night was held on Thursday 19th December by Roteract.  Children of Phoenix are looking forward to an ongoing partnership of support with Roteract throughout 2014.

Reclaiming our City Awareness Walk around Lake Wendouree 

Reclaiming our community Awareness Walk around Lake Wendouree in  September 2013 was a hugely successful event in raising the awareness of sexual abuse.  The walk involved approximately 200 people including local school children, general community, local service providers, Police and survivors of Clergy sexual abuse in Ballarat.

It was evident that the Awareness walk needs to become a regular event to remember the victims of sexual abuse who have lost their lost lives as a result of their trauma.  It is hoped that during Child Protection Week the Reclaiming our City Awareness can become and inaugural event in Ballarat.

Training Seminar 

The training seminar was attended by 40 professionals based in Ballarat, Melton and Bacchus Marsh within the education sector, nursing, counselling and welfare areas.  The feedback received on the day of training reinforced the demand for best practice evidence based training and the urgent need within the Ballarat area.

Reclaiming our city awareness walk

Friday 6th September 2013 1-3 pm

Lake Wendouree commencing at the Olympic Rings Wendouree Parade.

COST: Donation

The walk will include local school children, general community, local service providers and survivors of abuse.  There is no way of forgetting what happend to children in Ballarat.  However, we as a Community have a responsibility to protect our children from abuse into the future and ensure Ballarat’s past is never repeated.  We as a Community have a responsibility to protect children from abuse.  The Awareness walk coincides with Child Protection Week 1st – 7th September 2013.

Children of Phoenix in a symbolic reclaiming of our city from the abuse, will invite school children, survivors, community members and professionals to write positive affirmations on ribbons.

Working with survivors of sexual abuse

Monday 2nd September 2013 1-4pm

Ballarat Golf Club

1800 Sturt Street Ballarat

Professor Caroline Taylor AM, is internationally renowned for her research, contribution to legal reform, and campaigning for survivors of sexual abuse.  This Training Seminar will be provided to Ballarat Agencies and the Ballarat Community to ensure Ballarat is leading the way in best practice, responsive intervention to ensure that survivors of sexual abuse are provided with best practice intervention in accordance with their individual needs

COST $50 per person

Early Group Booking Discount – Booking and Payment required by Friday 23rd August

5 people – $40 per person

10 people – $35 per person

20 people – $30 per person

30 people – $25 per person

Children of Phoenix 2012 Scholarship Round

Children of Phoenix are pleased to announce that they have awarded a total of $15,000 in scholarships to individuals whose lives and educational pursuits have been disrupted as a consequence of childhood sexual abuse.  The foundation has awarded a number of scholarships to children, adolescents and adults to either continue with their education or re-access education in order they may realise their full potential.  Without the support of a scholarship and individual mentoring provided by the foundation these children and adults would not be in a position to continue with, or re-access quality education pathways.

Founder and Chair of the charity, Professor Caroline Taylor AM said that education is a basic human right that should never be denied anyone but for so many children who experience sexual violence their educational development and opportunities are often severely compromised or lost as a resource, leaving children and young people bereft of the life opportunities that are paramount to helping one rebuild a life that has been impacted upon by childhood sexual violence.  Applicants from the wider Ballarat area and Western region were prominent recipients as well as applicants from Melbourne and one interstate applicant.

Children of Phoenix is proud of its ongoing commitment to provide tangible supports that lead to positive, lifelong growth outcomes for children and young people. However the foundation needs the support of local businesses and community groups to sustain their work and would like businesses and business leaders to come on board and offer scholarship funding.

Professor Caroline Taylor AM Ceremony

Professor Caroline Taylor AM receives her honor at the investiture ceremony at Government House, April 20, 2012 to present her with her medal as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Click this link to visit our gallery which has images from the event.

 

Professor Caroline Taylor honoured in Australia Day Awards

Ballarat’s Professor Caroline Taylor honoured in Australia Day awards.
IT’S difficult to think of someone more deserving of an appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) than Professor Caroline Taylor.
Professor Taylor is widely regarded as an expert in the field of sexual violence, child abuse and domestic violence, the criminal justice response to survivors, and social models of trauma and recovery.

Herself a victim of long-term sexual abuse, Professor Taylor was pulled out of school at year 9 but went on to support herself throughout university and complete a PhD for which she received the prestigious Jean Martin Award from The Australian Sociological Association for the most outstanding PhD in social sciences.

Professor Taylor has worked tirelessly to provide support to children, adolescents and adults affected by childhood sexual abuse.

In 2004, she founded a charity organisation, Children of Phoenix, which provides education and training scholarships to survivors of sexual assault.

She has also written several books and journal articles, and her work and advocacy has helped support law reform in a number of Australian jurisdictions.

Professor Taylor provides specialist evidence in child abuse cases and sexual offence proceedings, and works with police across the country to improve their response, investigation and management of sexual offences.

She also works with international bodies such as the United Nations and Interpol. She hopes her appointment as AM will bring greater support to survivors of sexual and domestic abuse.

“I’m very humbled, I really am, but my greatest hope is that it helps profile the issue better,” she said.

Link to original article in The Courier.

Readers comments…

Very deserving, congrats Caroline.

Posted by kudos, 26/01/2012 3:21:55 AM, on The Ballarat Courier

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Congratulations to a wonderful person whose passion and energy have done so  much to challenge and change ingrained prejudices, social and legal, surrounding issues of sexual abuse in children, domestic violence against women.   Caroline’s research and writing have also  raised awareness of overall human rights issues for those members of society who are often powerless and voiceless.

Posted by Hamelot, 26/01/2012 12:33:14 PM, on The Ballarat Courier

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Congratulations Caroline and rightly recognised for  your dedicated, highly professional and undaunting commitment to people who have been subjected to childhood sexual abuse and those children in our community that are at risk of being like abused.

Posted by Gary Hunt, 27/01/2012 12:38:04 AM, on The Ballarat Courier

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Congratulations Caroline. You have been a tireless advocate for abused children. It is an honor to be your colleague and I look forward to our further collaborations. You are truly a gem  and so worthy of this prestigious recognition. Well done my friend
Detective Bob Shilling, Chair INTERPOL
Specialists Group on Crimes against Children

Posted by Bob Shilling, 27/01/2012 2:36:28 AM, on The Ballarat Courier

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It is wonderful to see Caroline’s work acknowledged in this way.As a Survivor of childhood sexual abuse and someone who benefited enormously from her book ‘Surviving the Legal System’, I am hugely thankful to Caroline and inspired by her. BIG CONGRATS – much respect and admiration.  : )

Posted by Craig, 27/01/2012 5:42:43 PM, on The Ballarat Courier

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A truly inspiring example of a ‘victim’ becoming a Survivor, helping other ‘victims’ to do the same, all the while exposing and challenging a legal system skewed in favour of perpetrators. Keep up the great work Caroline. And thank you!

Posted by David Lunt, 27/01/2012 11:22:28 PM, on The Ballarat Courier

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The world is a safer place for other little girls and boys thanks to you and your tireless work.  Go get me girl!

Posted by Will&lizzie, 28/01/2012 6:52:40 PM, on The Ballarat Courier

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Thank you Caroline – you have achieved so much and helped so many others in the process. Very best wishes, June

Posted by June, 29/01/2012 2:41:31 AM, on The Ballarat Courier

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Congratulations Caroline for all the hard work and dedication for without your heartfelt passion and brilliant brain many survivors such as myself would never have had a voice. If not for you and your wonderful foundation I would never have had the opportunitiy to go back to school and learn the skills needed to turn my life around. I cant thank you enough. You are a beautiful person inside and out.

Posted by V., 30/01/2012 10:49:31 AM, on The Ballarat Courier
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i have worked with caroline for the past 14 months as a researcher in sexual assault issues and she has always impressed as one of the finest human beings. i hope this award will assist her endeavours to rid us of this particular blight. congratulations caroline and it is good to see that our decision makers are acknowledging the issues of importance in this way too.
regards
shane muldoon

Posted by shane muldoon, 30/01/2012 11:40:44 AM, on The Ballarat Courier

‘Aphrodite Wounded’ medal

Louise thank you very much for the ‘Aphrodite Wounded’ medal which honors those who have experienced and overcome childhood sexual violence. I really appreciate your kind words and thoughts. I invite others to nominate someone they care about or admire for this same medal.
Warmest thanks,

Professor S. Caroline Taylor AM (more…)

Vicki Biggs, Children Of Phoenix Scholarship Recipient

Vicki Biggs has just completed her Business Administration studies with the help of a Children Of Phoenix Scholarship, Vicki writes.

“My name is Vicki Biggs and as a recent recipient of one of your scholarships, I am writing this letter to you to say a huge thank you to you for creating this wonderful foundation.

Without your foresight I would never have had the opportunity to go to school and learn all the wonderful things that doing my Certificate 3 in Business Administration included.”

Read more of her heart warming letter of thanks here.

Expert calls for law reform after Tas child sex case

A legal expert on child sex crimes argues the Tasmanian case illustrates screaming gaps in the law. Professor Caroline Taylor AM from Edith Cowan University says Australian laws and the way they’re interpreted offer greater protection to sex offenders rather than shielding children from abuse.

MARK COLVIN: One of Australia’s leading legal experts on sexual violence against children says the case in Tasmania illustrates gaping holes in the law.

Professor Caroline Taylor AM is the Foundation Chair in Social Justice at Edith Cowan University.

She told Emily Bourke that Australia’s laws did more to protect perpetrators of sex offences, than the most vulnerable: children.

CAROLINE TAYLOR: As they stand the law negates the protection of children, because it unfairly puts the onus and the burden of proof on the prosecution to prove that these men knowingly thought the child in this case was a consenting adult. So basically it’s a pseudo consent law.

EMILY BOURKE: But isn’t that the fault of the legal system, or indeed the way cases are handled before courts rather than the law itself?

CAROLINE TAYLOR: It’s an issue of how the law is framed and how the law is being interpreted I think.

In certain offences such as traffic offences we argue that ignorance of law is not a defence. But when it’s even more serious about the rape of children, we suddenly interpret it, you can claim ignorance if you claim a defence of the child you believed was an age of consent.

This is a very, very clear case of the law failing to protect a child and has aided and abetted the sexual offending of 100 men against a child and that if we can’t somehow garner urgent reform – I mean the Tasmanian Government should be calling itself together within the next 24 hours and making urgent reform of that kind of law and legislation to ensure that that kind of gap can never ever be relied on ever again.

EMILY BOURKE: Well how do you rephrase or reframe the law?

CAROLINE TAYLOR: What you do is what has been done in other states including Victoria around the law of rape and consent, where arguments have been that the onus should not be on the Crown, the onus should be on the defendant.

If the defendant is going to claim that he believed a 12-year-old was indeed a 17, or an 18-year-old, the onus should be on the defendant to prove that he believed that that child was 17 or 18.

EMILY BOURKE: Is the sort of law reform you’re talking about, is that realistic?

CAROLINE TAYLOR: Absolutely. In Sweden, Iceland and Norway, and South Korea, you can be convicted for buying sex services – that is for buying the services of a prostitute who is a trafficked woman. Now the law requires that if you claim you didn’t know they were trafficked you have to prove that.

What we’ve got Emily, is a stand-off where we say first of all the legal system ill-treats children so badly we don’t want to put them through the system. Secondly we’ve got a law that says these men can fall back on the caveat that they didn’t know and it’s up to the Crown to prove it.

What it means is we have unworkable laws that fail to protect children, we have a legal system that acknowledges that it traumatises children and therefore the loser in every case is children.

We simply have to look at cases like this and other cases where we continually get tied up in law and legislation and a legal process that we know can be so harmful to children that we avoid prosecution for that reason.

And in the end, that’s not a good reason to not prosecute; that’s reason for reform, not for failure to prosecute.

MARK COLVIN: Professor Caroline Taylor from Edith Cowan University, speaking to Emily Bourke.

Original Source.

ECU researcher receives prestigious policing award

Congratulations to the Foundation Chair of Social Justice and Head of the Social Justice Research Centre, Professor Caroline Taylor, who was recently awarded the Australian Institute of Policing Excellence in Research on Improving Policing for Women Award, at the 2010 Excellence in Policing Awards.

The awards ceremony, held at the Marriott Hotel in Brisbane, recognises outstanding contributions to the police force, and is open to nominees from around Australia, News Zealand and the Asia Pacific.

The Excellence in Research award is the only award open to non-police members and recognises research that improves policing and advances the role of women in the police force.

Professor Taylor was thrilled to receive the award, which acknowledged both her recent publications and her work on a large Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant with the Victoria Police that aims to improve police response, investigation and management of sex offences.

“I feel very humbled and privileged to conduct research work alongside the police force, and I believe it is important for police and researchers to work together to improve police and criminal justice outcomes for women and children,” said Professor Taylor.

Professor Taylor has recently been contacted by the London Metropolitan Police Force and Canadian Police force to discuss how her research can help improve their own policing methods with regards to sexual violence.

For more information on the Awards, visit the Australian Council of Women and Policing website or contact Professor Taylor on c.taylor@ecu.edu.au.

Read the original article here.

Professor says child sex laws just ‘tinkering’

RECOMMENDATIONS to boost maximum penalties for child sex offences will have little effect on the prevalence of abuse, a Ballarat-based academic said yesterday.

The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council has recommended that the government raise the maximum penalty, to 25 years’ jail, for those convicted of sexual penetration of a child aged between 10 and 12.

But Edith Cowan University social justice chair Professor Caroline Taylor said that was ineffective “legislative tinkering”.

Under present Victorian law, the maximum sentence for sexual penetration of a child aged between 10 and 16 is 15 years. The same offence against children under 10 carries a 25-year jail term.

“The maximum penalty is rarely, if ever, applied,” she said. “This kind of thing might make it look like we’re going to give tough penalties but if they are not applied, in the long term we are doing more harm.”

“I often feel we tinker with the peripheral areas of legislation without going to the heart of the matter.”

The report, delivered by the advisory council yesterday, followed a request from Attorney-General Rob Hulls in December last year. It found that the average jail term handed to offenders convicted of sexual penetration of a

child under 10 was 3.3 years, whereas those who committed the offence against children aged between 10 and 16 were given an average 2.3 years.

Prof Taylor said such sentences were “very, very inadequate”.

“When you look at the extent of sexual violence, particularly children who have suffered multiple offences over time, and see these absolutely ridiculous sentences, it’s very clear many offenders know a lot people aren’t taking

seriously what they have done,” she said.

“And children internalise the fact that what happens to them isn’t that important.”

Prof Taylor said with current Victorian rates of sexual abuse at one in three girls and one in eight boys, such sentences did nothing to deter repeat offenders.

She called for greater clarity from judges when giving their reasons in sentencing for such crimes.

“We need to understand much better how judges arrive at their sentencing decisions,” she said.

“There is often not a lot of clarity in what they take account of when formulating a response to sexual violence.

“Judges consistently give the lowest possible sentences, even with track records in prior convictions, which is like slapping someone with a wet bus ticket.”

“We need to get far more education about the lifelong damage on children and the cumulative effect this has on them.

Read the full story on The Courier website.

Abuse of trust breeds culture of silence

THE puerile stunt by Sydney radio jocks Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O on Wednesday, in which a 14-year-old girl was strapped to a lie detector and interrogated by her mother about sexual matters, reveals more than just the nation’s shock that the distressed girl disclosed she was raped as a 12-year-old.

The stupidity and crassness of Sandilands and Ms O aside, the incident amplified another more disturbing and sinister aspect of disclosure by children. It is the agony and terror faced by many child victims of sexual violence who find the courage to tell an adult, only to have that adult fail to respond with any shred of justice or decency.

For as this grotesque and cheap radio stunt revealed, the child had previously told her mother of the rape and from all reports, her repeated disclosure appeared to be a source of amusement rather than concern. The adults in this stunt should all be charged with a form of child abuse. In addition to questioning the moral compass that guided the actions of a mother (and radio station for that matter) to subject her child to humiliating and degrading interrogation on live radio, there is the further moral, and even legal, question about a parent ignoring an earlier disclosure by their child.

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The case is a sad but salutary example of the common experience faced by many child victims of sexual violence: telling an adult, often a parent, and having their truth, their terror, their suffering either disbelieved, ignored or used as the basis for punishment.

Delayed disclosure by children, vis-a-vis the rejection of children’s disclosures by adults, are a common feature of child sexual abuse. This fact continues to be a shameful indictment on society. Recent studies here and abroad attest to the currency given to myths and stereotypes that lead adults to disbelieve child and adult victims when they disclose rape and sexual assault. So you can imagine the courage it takes for a child or adult to disclose to an adult they believe they can trust.

Sandilands and Ms O debased themselves and it is likely their posturing and theatrical hand-wringing about their moral culpability will best be tested in the court of public opinion. One can only hope that listeners vote with the radio dial.

However, the foremost action required has to do with the welfare of the child in this case. She is thrice victimised: first by the rape; then by the lack of proper action and care for her initial disclosure to a parent; and then finally on live radio.

Now imagine the cumulative impacts of trauma and distress this girl would have suffered from the rape, the failure to have her disclosure responded to, and the distress and humiliation of interrogation and further disclosure on radio.

While the community retains for a time the appropriate sense of moral repugnancy for the treatment of this child on air and in the privacy of her family home where she no doubt disclosed the rape previously, close your eyes a moment and imagine what it must be like for a child to suffer rape, disclose and have that disclosure ignored or rejected.

Imagine the sense of shame, distress, terror, fear and additional layers of trauma accumulating in the heart, mind and soul of such a child. Now imagine the thousands of children out there experiencing this as we speak, because research tells us the delayed disclosure by children and inappropriate responses to their disclosures by adults are all too frequent realities for many child victims.

Despite her distress, the truth, courage and dignity of this girl is a powerful and exemplary lesson that children continue to be unheard about sexual violence.

Don’t let our collective outrage and moral compass view this repulsive radio stunt as just another example of shock-jock rating grabs. To do so would be to lose a deeper lesson that has the capacity to ennoble our collective character.

If you listen really carefully with your heart you will find that the silence of abused children is in fact our inability to hear. Listen carefully, they are actually crying out to be heard by us.

Professor S. Caroline Taylor is foundation chair in social justice, Edith Cowan University, WA, and founder and chairwoman of Children of Phoenix Org (www.childrenofphoenix.org)

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/abuse-of-trust-breeds-culture-of-silence-20090731-e4cf.html#ixzz1b5iFmozY