Vernon Collins Oration 2nd October 2019

Hon Justice Jennifer Coate AO

Former Judge of the Family Court and
former Commissioner for the Institutional Response to Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse

Children: The need to be seen and heard

The Oration was delivered to a large audience of hospital staff, Alumni members and members of the Collins family. Justice Coate was welcomed by the CEO Mr John Stanway and her talk was preceded by the presentation of prizes to three Melbourne medical students for their performance during the paediatric module in 5th year.

Justice Coate gave an illuminating talk about the Commission on the Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse. Her talk was sobering and saddening with a litany of the horrors of abuse of children, mainly in institutional care by religious or other state or philanthropic organisations.

The “cover up” by some leaders of such organisations, who were in many cases aware of what had happened, was horrifying and left the audience troubled and disgusted that such responsible and generally respected individuals, in positions of considerable power, could have behaved so appallingly.

Much applause followed at the conclusion of her talk, but the audience left largely in silence – an indication of the extent to which they had been moved by this challenging topic.

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