VoiceUp Australia support group for child abuse survivors and supporters meetings are back on in Coffs Harbour

VoiceUp’s Michelle Cowan and Chris Marks with Aunty Glendra of Knowmore legal services, at the 2019 Rural and Mental Health Symposium held in Creswick Victoria. Photo: supplied by Gai Newman.


VOICEUP Australia is an organisation run by volunteers for survivors of child abuse and their supporters where they can share experiences in a safe environment.

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With the easing of restrictions, face-to-face support meetings have resumed after several months of Zoom.

Gai Newman, Manager of the Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre said, “The group connects survivors and their supporters with information and resources, including legal advice.”

She told News Of The Area that the 2013 Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse made a huge impact, and was followed by the establishment of regular support groups in Coffs Harbour.

“It was the first time many people had told their stories, including some whose partners only found out then for the first time what had happened.”

VoiceUp aims to break the tyranny of silence around child abuse and create a culture where people speak up.

“When they talk about it in the group, they come to understand that it wasn’t their fault,” Gai said.

“All too often friends and family don’t want to hear about it, so it’s a safe space in which to connect with people who understand.”

Gai added, “We’d really like to promote the support meetings as well as Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre’s commitment to support survivors generally as part of our day to day offering to the community.”

“Many survivors of abuse and trauma who attend the Centre never make it along to meetings but find comfort and support in knowing they exist and the hope that they may attend one day.”

“We support and resource survivors at the Centre with whatever they request, or whatever their immediate needs may be.”

For more information email [email protected] or phone 02 6648 3694, or visit the Neighbourhood Centre at 22 Earl St weekdays between 9am – 4pm.

The next VoiceUp meeting will be held on 21 October; RSVP to Chris Marks 0423 133 191, RSVP’s essential due to COVIDsafe protocols.



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