Drummond Street Services – Citizen’s Welfare Society (CWS) – Declared as a Participating Institution – National Redress Scheme

drummond street services was notified of a claim to the National Redress Scheme (NRS) several months ago, whilst operating a family foster care program under our previous name: The Citizens Welfare Society (CWS) 1945-1996.

In our public statement and apology to survivors in September 2020, we expressed our shock and sadness that this organisation had potentially caused harm and has an abuse history.  However, we know this is incomparable to the experiences of survivors, their families and loved ones, who experienced abuse and harms from a system of services and institutions that were entrusted with the care and safety of children.

We have had the privilege to support so many survivors over the last several years.  We have seen their pain and their courage, as they have persisted for justice, truth-telling, healing and accountability.

We want to acknowledge survivors’ ongoing strength and resilience. The bravery of survivors who submit their Redress applications, despite its difficulties.  This includes any that name us as an institution that caused harms in our past.

The organisation and its people have helped many people and communities over the years.  This includes our advocacy for those, who far too often remain marginalised or unheard.

However, in the context of the shockingly high numbers of organisations and institutions that have been named is a sad indictment of long-held, historical attitudes and practices, which instead of care and safety was sanctioned abuse and cover-ups.

We understand that survivor communities may look at our existing Support Service through a different lens, therefore the guidance and input of survivors will be of the utmost importance in shaping our future support.

Our commitment to survivor justice and healing is resolute.  However, we need to do more to ensure their trust in us is rightly earnt.

Since being informed of the claim, we commenced the process of signing-up to the NRS, without hesitation. We informed all survivors that we support, as well as our service and community partners.  We will also establish a Survivors Advisory Council to advise us on the future of our services.

This claim strengthens our resolve and commitment to our social justice credentials. Our approach to this claim and our continued work in supporting survivors will be our true test.

As a part of sector, a system and as a community – we must continue to support any pursuit of justice and truth-telling.  This mean honouring the positive work we do, but also to own our pasts and commit with genuine actions to ensure this never happens again.

It means that we all must continue to critically reflect on our practices to ensure we continue to be safe, transparent and accountable.  This will only be achieved by listening, learning and including survivors and those we are privileged to support through genuine input and co-design of services.

We committed to make real amends for survivors, their families and loved ones, both through the National Redress Scheme and exploration of other restorative justice processes.   We also implore that any organisation that has been named to sign-up to the NRS without delay.

We will also provide updates on our website;  www.ds.org.au/citizens -welfare-services-justice-healing.  You can contact us on cwsjustice@ds.org.au or on +61 3 8548 4970 for further information.

All of us at drummond street services again say sorry, for all harms and abuse.

We believe you. We hear you.

We reaffirm our commitment to compassion, healing and the work that needs to be done. We also implore that any organisation that has been named to sign-up to the NRS without delay.

Thank you.

Karen Field – CEO

Alun Jackson – Board President