TOMMY Campion wept yesterday at the memory of Julia Gillard in November last year announcing a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
He cried that day as well.
The retired photographer, who lived at the Anglican Church’s North Coast Children’s Home for 14 years from the age of two, will give evidence next month, when the commission looks at how Grafton and Newcastle Anglican dioceses responded to child sex allegations about the home.
He hopes other victims will come forward.
At its third public hearing from November 18, the royal commission will look at how the dioceses handled complaints about Anglican minister Allan Kitchingman – a Newcastle church man from 1965 who sexually abused a child at the Lismore home in 1975, and was jailed for it in 2002.
Mr Campion, 65, fought a lonely battle against the Anglican Church for years.
‘‘They said they had nothing to do with the home, despite the sign at the front that said ‘Church of England North Coast Children’s Home’,’’ he said.
He sent them a photo of the sign. The Church kept fighting the point.
Mr Campion sent 80 messages to newspapers across Australia, including the Newcastle Herald, inviting former children from the home to make contact with him.
Many did, and disclosed they had been sexually, physically and emotionally abused.
More than 40 took action against the Church which provided small ‘‘compassionate payments’’, but insisted it was not compensation.
When the royal commission was announced, Tommy Campion was one of the first to lodge a submission and give evidence.
In May this year, the Bishop of Grafton Keith Slater resigned and apologised for his failings in handling complaints about the home.
The diocese had received allegations of sexual abuse involving staff, visiting clergy, members of holiday host families and other residents, he said.
Mr Campion is just pleased victims will have their day in court, and encourages them to contact the royal commission.
‘‘The only thing that will help is the truth. That’s all we’ve ever wanted,’’ he said.