Read Joanne McCarthy's work on child abuse by the Catholic Church here.
COMMENT: Why we need a royal commission into church sex abuse (the opinion piece Joanne McCarthy talks about in Australian Story)
The Newcastle Herald was inundated on Tuesday with a wave of reactions from across the nation after ABC’s Australian Story on journalist Joanne McCarthy and her investigation into child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.
That investigation led to a historic royal commission.
‘‘Joanne McCarthy’’ was trending on Twitter on Monday night as the program was broadcast as viewers took to social media to congratulate McCarthy, the Herald and Australian Story.
Tuesday morning, the letters began pouring in.
Rex Williams, from the ACT, wrote that Joanne deserved the acclaim of her peers and the media industry.
‘‘The district should forever be grateful that such an honourable person took up the public running of these insidious crimes against the young. She is a wonderful example to potential journalists.’’
Trevor Street, from Sunset Beach (WA), congratulated the Herald, Joanne McCarthy and editor Chad Watson ‘‘for their unwavering pursuit of the facts covered by Australian Story. I have no history of what the program covered but at the end I was in tears and in awe of what the Herald was able to obtain. Thank God for media such as the Newcastle Herald and the ABC.’’
Elly Ferguson, from Traralgon in Victoria, congratulated Joanne on the award ‘‘but more so on showing up the horrors within the church ... we need people like you to help those unfortunate victims. Thank you.’’
Sylvia Huntington, from Thirroul (near Wollongong), thanked Joanne ‘‘for delivering the truth about the sexual abuse of children in the Hunter, leading to national truth telling on a grand scale.’’
Sylvia emphasised that the provision of healing services is the next step in justice for those sexually abused as children.
Patricia Burke, from Point Vernon, Qld, an Irish Australian immigrant in her late fifties wrote that her birth mother, whom she never knew, and her birth mother’s mother were victims of the Catholic church ’industrial schools’ of their time.
‘‘I’m deeply moved and grateful for your efforts in bringing some of these people to account.
It goes beyond what has happened in Australia, and encompasses decades of abuse that takes in Ireland also, that has played out in the lives of all those women and their children.
I greatly admire your courage and fortitude.’’
Elizabeth Pinkerton, from Glen Innes, a survivor of Parramatta Girls Home, lauded McCarthy and the Herald for helping all victims of sexual abuse to get the support and redress they disserve.
‘‘Sometimes it feels like that is exactly what the government wants, for us to die and stay unheard or listened to, something that has been happening for most of our lives,’’ she wrote. ‘‘I didn’t know it was Joanne’s determination that got us our inquiry.
I am hoping it will also bring Victoria and NSW into the present and do what is right to help the victims of Parramatta Girls Home.’’
Steven Jones, passed on his heartfelt thanks from Broome in WA.
‘‘I watched the story on Monday night on the ABC and had tears pouring down my face.
‘‘I have been a self-employed contractor in this remote region for a number of years and was horrified when informed I didn’t need a Working With Children check whilst working at remote community schools.
To put this into perspective, I needed a Police Check before working in the local police station.
‘‘Where does that leave our innocent children?
Can it be the ‘‘norm’’ across Australia?’’
Zafer Chevik, who runs a manufacturing business in Seven Hills, praised Watson, who stood behind Joanne throughout.
‘‘Words are not enough to describe someone who can take on these people who could have destroyed him. Not just his career but his family life. We need more like him. The world is better today and thanks to you and Joanne.’’
Watch Australian Story on ABC iview here