DVD on impact of child sexual abuse to be screened in Cessnock

A professionally-produced DVD about the impact of child sexual abuse will be screened at St. Patrick’s Primary School, Cessnock this Saturday (October 26).

Titled Breaking the Silence, the DVD was commissioned by the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s Insights Team.

Insights is a program that has evolved from an identified need to explore the deep and lasting effects of child sexual abuse on the faith communities within the diocese.

The production of the DVD came about as a direct response to members of the community who attended Insights gatherings in recent years, and who wished to hear first-hand accounts from those who had been most affected.

Taking 18 months to produce, Breaking the Silence is stark in its simplicity.

Patricia Feenan, mother of Daniel, a victim of deceased priest James Fletcher, and Morpeth man Bob O'Toole, who was sexually abused by a Marist Brother at school, speak about their experiences, their treatment by the Church community and the impact of the abuse on their lives to this day.

Bob and Pat represent many more who are not yet able to tell their stories.

“The DVD was produced to be used with facilitated groups. While there is nothing gratuitous or unnecessarily explicit in the film, it does have the potential to disturb, and Insights takes seriously its responsibility to exercise due diligence in caring for the members of the community it encounters,” Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle coordinator of healing and support, Maureen O’Hearn said.

The event will run from 10am to 12pm Saturday (the DVD runs for 30 minutes). Entry is free and all are welcome.