A date has yet to be set for the start of the royal commission, which could run for several years.

Australia: Helplines flooded after church probe announced - Comment on 2012 November 24 (4)

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2012 November 24 (4)

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So someone's had to live with a secret, be blackmailed, threatened, cajoled into not telling and all those kinds of things. Read more:

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Helplines flooded after church probe announced

Suicide helplines, psychologists and support groups have been flooded with demand for counselling, as sex abuse victims urge the royal commission to focus on institutional cover-ups and creating a compensation scheme.

Following the November 12 announcement of the royal commission, the Lifeline national suicide helpline, which usually manages 1500 calls a day, fielded 250 extra calls a day from abuse survivors, some of whom had never spoken of their ordeals.

While the number of royal commission-related calls has since dropped to about 40 a day, Lifeline chief executive Jane Hayden said the service was still stretched and demand was likely to increase again when proceedings begin.

''Callers are not coping with their own emotional reactions to the news and not knowing where to turn. People want to tell their story but they're distressed because the media coverage reminds them of what they suffered.''

A date has yet to be set for the start of the royal commission, which could run for several years.

Heather Gridley, of the Australian Psychological Society, said that while the size of the royal commission might empower some abuse survivors, it would be also be traumatic. ''The secrecy around sexual assault, in a systemic way like this, is one of the biggest things,'' she said.

''So someone's had to live with a secret, be blackmailed, threatened, cajoled into not telling and all those kinds of things. It's like sitting in a dark room, and then you've been out of the dark room for a long time and suddenly you're back in there again, so it's not surprising that it triggers such distress.''

 

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