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CFA acknowledges survivors of historical child sex abuse

  | CFA News and Media Views: 1711

On Saturday the Ballarat Fire Brigade hosted an event to recognise survivors who suffered child sex abuse through a connection to the brigade.

CFA acknowledges survivors of historical child sex abuse

The plaque on the new station fence. Photo by Keith Pakenham AFSM

A plaque was unveiled on the station’s new fence as an enduring symbol of the strength and resilience of survivors.

The old fence had been adorned with ribbons as part of the ‘loud fence movement’ representing the voice of survivors. 

The fence has recently been replaced for safety reasons, but a portion of the old fence with the original ribbons has been incorporated into the new design.

CO/CEO Steve Warrington joined Ballarat Captain Mark Cartledge and a survivor in addressing an audience including other survivors, CFA members and members of the Ballarat community.

“CFA recognises the wrongs of the past, the importance of change to promote healing and ensuring the safety of children into the future,” CO/CEO Warrington said.

“There is nothing I can say today that will undo what has happened but I want to reiterate our most sincere and heartfelt apology to the survivors.

“The plaque and ribbons are now a permanent testament to your resilience and bravery.

“Now, your experiences will be publicly remembered as part of our history – regretted, but never forgotten,” he said.

Captain Mark Cartledge acknowledged the importance of the day in the Brigade’s history.

“As a Brigade we see the importance of recognising the historical incidents as a regrettable part of the history of the brigade,” he said.

“It has been an honour to work with those who have been involved in the development of this place of acknowledgement.

“Today’s unveiling of the plaque and new fence will be part of the brigade’s history and a permanent acknowledgment of the strength of the survivors,” he said.

A survivor of the abuse spoke and recited a poem she authored entitled “Four little ribbons”.

Survivor M* was the first to tie ribbons to the fence of the brigade in acknowledgement of the crimes committed by the former member.

“Today is not about any one individual, today is for all survivors,” Survivor M said.

“Whether you have spoken up or not, please know that you are not alone. You are believed and we are here for you.

“All children have a right to be safe and protected. We need to ensure this never happens again,” she said.

CFA apologises for what occurred and stands with the survivors, their families and the Ballarat community.

CFA is committed to the healing process, to learning from the past and to being an organisation where all children are safe.

*name withheld by request

Chief Officer Steve Warrington speaking. Photo by Keith Pakenham AFSM