On Monday the Prime Minister said sorry to the victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse across Australia. Western Victoria Primary Health Network welcomes the national apology.

The Royal Commission’s report into institutional responses to the abuse of children continues to be harrowing and the ongoing impact of such abuse is not only deeply personal and tragic for each victim, but its effect ripples through families and communities for years after. The journey for many victims is life-long.

Childhood sexual abuse significantly contributes to mental illness including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorders and, in many cases, suicide. Western Victoria PHN acknowledges the devastating impact of childhood sexual abuse and continues to work with health professionals to reach out to individuals and families across western Victoria and to provide support.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help, phone beyondblue on 1300 224 636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Fight For Your life on 5559 0555. In an emergency phone 000.

Leanne Beagley, chief executive, Western Victoria Primary Health Network