Victims right to speak out about abuse

Dr Kezelman AM offers the following comments in response to the sisters allegedly abused by Malka Leifer being granted permission to identify themselves – the first since new laws silencing sexual abuse victims were introduced.

As Malka Leifer has now been found fit to stand trial, it has never been more important for the three alleged victims speaking out to be able to forthrightly use their names. Victims of sexual assault have been silenced for a very long time.


It is only over recent years that many survivors have started speaking out courageously, and standing up overcoming the shame and self-blame so often carried by them.


It is time to urgently review this law and provide victims with the choice to speak, face their abusers, and shatter the secrecy of abusive power.


For a long time, victims have been blamed for their victimhood. Let’s honour and respect people who want their name and identity to be known. This is the least we can do as a compassionate community for victims who have already been so traumatised by their experiences.


Let’s not add to their trauma with a law which blocks their voices and opportunity to be listened to and heard.


About Dr Cathy Kezelman AM

Dr Kezelman AM is a medical practitioner, mental health consumer advocate and President of Blue Knot Foundation National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma. She worked in medical practice for 20 years, mostly as a GP. Under her stewardship Blue Knot Foundation has grown from a peer support organisation to a national centre of excellence combining a prominent consumer voice with that of researchers, academics and clinicians advocating for socio-political trauma-informed change and informed responsiveness to complex trauma. Dr Kezelman was awarded an AM “for significant service to community health as a supporter and advocate for survivors of child abuse” in 2015.

About Blue Knot Foundation

Blue Knot Foundation is Australia’s National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, empowering recovery and building resilience for the more than five million adult Australians (1 in 4) with a lived experience of complex trauma, including childhood trauma and abuse, their families and communities. The organisation played a pivotal role supporting the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, in advocating for fair and equitable redress, and now in supporting people applying for redress, as well as engaging with the Disability Royal Commission.

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