-------- Original Message --------
To Whomsoever it concerns
Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into abuses of children in Institutions
From - a victim who lodged a Submission
My Name is Robin Ruth Henderson and my Submission to this Inquiry is published on your website.
I refer to the recently concluded Inquiry into how institutions have responded to reports of child abuse when asked to address the accusations of victims.
I have mislaid the appropriate email address to which to write as a victim concerning that Inquiry so I trust whoever receives this email message will pass it on to the appropriate
person and that I will receive a clarifying response to my perplexities concerning the extensive redactions to the main body of my Submission.
Before I continue with this request for explanations I would like, once more, to complement the Committee for the REPORT "Betrayal of Trust" which in my estimation was both
excellent in presentation and clearly written so to be comprehensible to levels of literacy across the board. The TITLE was extremely apt! I also wish to state that what I am about to
address regarding the presentation of my Submission on the Victorian Parliamentary website in no way reflects on my opinion about the professionalism or on the conduct of the
Committee who conducted this extremely difficult and harrowing Inquiry. By all accounts they did a most inspiring job and all have my absolute admiration.
I live in a remote area of rural Queensland. I am partially disabled and unable to travel long distances. My gratitude to the Committee for arranging for a compassionate and
competent lady from the Victims of Crime agency who travelled from Victoria and remained here for two days to help me compile my Submission and prepare it to be lodged to the
My Submission was accompanied by documentation to support the statements I made in my Submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry.
Most importantly, my Submission included a copy of my explicit Submission in 2004 to The Australian Parliamentary Senate Inquiry into the ABUSES OF CHILDREN IN
INSTITUTIONAL CARE ..that resulted in my inclusion among The Forgotten Australians .
This Submission was published on the Australian Parliamentary Senate website and remains there today.
It described how I was stolen from the custody of my single mother by a group of Italian nuns in Melbourne in 1959-60 at whose boarding hostel I was staying temporarily and how
these nuns, in disregard of my Mother's agreement with them in my regard, desperately wanting an Australian recruit for their ranks, illegally obtained a passport for me at 16
without parental signatures, had me lie to and deceive my mother and sent me to Italy with promise of a holiday and Art School and who, by their conduct towards me combined
with my tenuous circumstances at home, groomed me for religious life and, by confiscating my passport, detained me in Italy for seven years until the deed was done during which
time I led a life of hardship and abuse that destroyed my health both physically and mentally. Other published material, about my detention among the nuns in Italy and then in
Australia appeared in the BRAVEHEARTS magazine.
The information I supplied in my Submission to the Victorian Inquiry pertaining to the abuses I suffered at the hands of religious persons in Institutions where I found myself as
a child through no choice of my own, constituted, along with an account of sexual abuse by a priest in Melbourne and how it was dealt with by The Melbourne Response, were the
two main subjects of my Submission.
MY ABUSE BY A PRIEST and how this was handled by The Melbourne Response
Whilst part of the account concerning my abuse at the hands of the priest and how this was dealt with by the Melbourne response system was not redacted in my
Submission, important tracts concerning my Deed of Release, how I was bullied by the Compensation Panel and the Co-Ordinator of Carelink into signing the Deed against my better
judgement were redacted despite their relevancy and their compliance with the Terms of Reference. Maybe were these tracts mistakenly redacted?
STOLEN BY NUNS and institutionalised behind my mother's back..abused
The account of my treatment at the hands of the nuns, any mention of this 14 year orderal I suffered being separated from my country and my Mum, how any approaches by me
to the nuns asking for restorative justice have been met with deceptions, evasions and unreasonable, impossible responses, how these nuns have entirely expunged my existence
among them from their records and from the published account of their Australian history, ...in fact the story I presentrd to ther Inquiry (backed up with supporting material) about
what I have been advised was an abduction of a minor from the legal custody of her parent...every trace of this account and how the convent handled it was entirely redacted from
my Submission.....when the "bones" of my story of having been stolen by nuns had been published and accepted by the Australian Senate and was already in the public domain.
The body of my Submission consisted of 49 pages all of which appear on the Victorian Inquiry website.
Of the 49 pages of my Submission -
# 19 pages were100% redacted
# 14 pages wer 50% redacted.
# 9 pages were 25% redacted.
# 7 pages were randomly redacted.
Most of these redactions covered the story of my having been stolen ny the nuns at 16 and of other abuses and how the nuns had dealt with being accused.
I found all the redactions extremely confronting.
I wanted this "nun story" to be a matter of record of the Victorian Inquiry since this is the State where my ordeal occurred. I wanted Victorians to read it.
Some redactions included inoquous material that was, nevertheless relevant and relevant material concerning information about the conduct of The Melbourne Response towards
me that was in no way frivolous or offensive, rather it was descriptive of how I was treated.
Was that not the information the Inquiry was seeking?
Not at any instance did I use bad language although I noticed that in one particular submission extremely coarse language had not been redacted.
Even though re-writing my story to form a submission from the perspective required by the Inquiry, I do not believe I let my emotions run away with me as I had the lady from
Victims of Crime checking everything.
I wondered at the sense behind redacting my whole story and even some things relating incidents about The Melbourne Response Compensatiion Panel and How CARELINK had
tried to influence me regarding signing the Deed when I was arguing with them that I wanted a solicitor to review it before I signed. I was being bullied. Was that not of interest to
the Inquiry? I asked myself - Why publish such a severly redacted submission? Was the material that formed the crux of my submission deemed totally inadmissable?
TABLE OF CONTENTS REDACTED?
I supplied a Table of Contents in two sections.
Section 2 was entirely redacted.... a list of all the supporting material I was supplying, some of which was personal ( and I came to comprehend the reason for that redaction) ...
Other redactions were of a list of documents about TOWARDS HEALING and THE MELBOURNE RESPONSE.....I do not understand.
REDACTIONS IN GENERAL - my personal reaction as a victim of childhood abuse by the RC church
Why was the main material forming the crux of my story of childhood abuse and how the church has responded to my complaints deemed inadmissable?
I feel denied all over again.
After pouring out my suffering, reliving all the trauma and deceit, trying to be objective, I feel deprived of my voice by a stroke of a pen on behalf of the Victorian government.
When I saw my blacked out pages I felt as if my life had been deleted again. I felt suspicion creep in....(and here I acknowledge that after all I have suffered I am prone to suspecting
conspiracy).....and I found myself wondering if a certain extremely well connected and influential church group in Melbourne, maybe closely allied to those who stole me away from
Mum at 16 and got me out of the country and off to Italy behind my Mother's back, those same ones who today deny I even existed then, had not somehow managed to influence
somebody charged with reading those hundreds of submissions....or maybe somebody is biased? I am not accusing anyone...just looking for explanations, I am so used to being
traspped and deceived and outwitted...but maybe I wrote nonsense.......
I am very upset about all this. My submission that cost so many sleepless nights and hours of trying to get it right is non existant!
Can somebody explain why please?
Robin Ruth Henderson
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