Send Ballarat Survivors To Rome

$203,065 of $55,000 goal

Raised by 4,573 people in 38 months
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Hi, I'm Meshel Laurie and you'll find me on KIIS FM and writing columns and blogs around Australia.

I work with Gorgi Coghlan on The Project every Friday night, and Ballarat is her home town.  This idea was hatched on TV last Friday night, to help the Ballarat survivors of child abuse to travel to Rome to hear the evidence to be given by Cardinal George Pell. 

I've set up a dedicated account to collect funds. Our plan is to send a group of 15 people, including support staff, and the funds will be used for flights, accommodation, transport and meals for that group.  The funds will be used to pay for these expenses, and will be managed by trusted financial professionals.  I will keep you all updated on exactly how and when the funds will be used and distributed. 

Any excess funds will go towards a healing centre for survivors, and you can read more about it below. If the survivors do not go to Rome, all the funds will go towards the healing centre. We'll keep you fully updated on progress as we await the news from the Royal Commission. 


The City of Ballarat has come under the spotlight of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Abuse as an epicentre of abuse over many years.

Cardinal George Pell was due to give evidence in Ballarat but is too ill to travel, missing the chance to not only give evidence in person but provide hope to the whole city.

The survivors of Ballarat and District child abuse feel that a face-to-face hearing is important for healing and understanding.

With the news that Cardinal Pell could not come here, it seems appropriate to get the survivors to Rome to sit in front of Pell as he gives evidence. 

Cardinal Pell is due to give evidence on February the 29th so they don't have much time. The opportunity to face Cardinal Pell is the least our community can do for these brave people who have bared their souls to ensure the world is a safer place for all children.

To send representatives of the survivors and their support staff as well as Ballarat representatives, they need to raise $55,000 dollars to cover flights, accomodation and food for fifteen people. 

All of this is dependent on the Royal Commission confirming Pell will give evidence in a public forum.

If they cannot attend Rome due to a private hearing they want to ask people to direct funds to a Healing Centre for Survivors in Ballarat.

They can no longer wait for decisions of others to obtain the correct support. Instead they want to develop a world-leading healing centre based on what they know they need.
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Hi Guys,
Just a quick update to let you know there'll be an announcement tomorrow night on The Project, 6.30 on channel 10, about the remainder of the funds you donated. There's also been a fantastic late development so don't forget to watch!
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We have finalised the details of the trip. The numbers are below, but first I wanted to give you an opportunity to meet some of the survivors you're sending to Rome. Please use your own discretion regarding watching Gorgi's report for The Project, as it features survivors talking about their childhood abuse and may be triggering for some.

The final figures for the trip are:
$28 947 - Airfares
$3 631 - Travel Insurance and Airport Transfers
$23 400 - Accom
$10 500 - daily food allowance ($100x15peoplex7days)

$66 478 - Total

As some of the survivors are unable to work, and none had planned on a week away from their lives, we decided it was reasonable to offer $100/day towards expenses. It should be noted that an anonymous donor added $5000 earlier today specifically towards the food and drink allowance.

The rest of the donated funds will be parked until the survivors return home. Im happy to say that Auspicious Arts Projects Inc has agreed to manage the funds raised through the GoFundMe campaign for the Ballarat Survivors of Clergy Abuse, as an independent third party to ensure complete transparency in the use of these funds.

Auspicious Arts Projects Inc provides financial and administrative management for individual artists, projects, festivals, small companies, community groups and city councils, helping to manage between $5 and $6 million on behalf of Australian artists each year.

In coming months decisions will be made about how to maximise the impact of the money you donated. You'll be kept in the loop every step of the way.

Thank you so much for your generosity.

Meshel x
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Quick update. The survivors are off to Rome! Thanks to the Royal Commission for finding an appropriate venue, and to you for donating, the trip is going ahead.

As per our original mission statement, we've just purchased 15 economy airfares to Rome, at a cost of $28 577. The airfares are solely for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy and their medical and clinical supporters.

We've also arranged travel insurance to ensure the survivors and their support team are covered on the trip.

It's night time in Rome right now, so the accommodation hasn't quite been confirmed yet. We'll let you know when it is.

Meshel x
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Hi Guys, just a quick update.

After 6 mind-blowing, game-changing days, we are ending the fundraising component of our project today.

We’re still waiting on an official announcement from the Royal Commission, but we’re very hopeful that the original mission of sending a group of 15 survivors, representatives from Ballarat and support people to Rome will happen in less than a week.

Due to your incredible generosity though, that will not be the end of your engagement with the survivors of sexual abuse by clergy in Ballarat.

We’re in the process of establishing an independent trust that will oversee the distribution of your donations over the months and years to come. The focus is on supporting the mental health services in the area that have long struggled to keep up with the demand in the community.

We know the suicide rate among survivors is devastatingly high, and the ripple effects of their PTSD are felt deeply throughout the community impacting spouses, children, siblings, parents and friends who also require support.

We feel this is the best way to keep all of our arms wrapped around Ballarat into the future.

We’ll keep you updated every step of the way.

I’d like to share with you, the most touching and unexpected element of this process from my perspective.

It’s the fact that our support for the survivors has come as a wonderful surprise to so many of them. They’ve told me repeatedly in the last week that they didn’t think we in the wider community cared about them. They thought we didn’t want to know about what happened to them, but your donations changed that.

You’ve made them feel cared for and like what happened to them mattered to all of us. You’ve genuinely changed these people’s lives. Never forget that.

From the bottom of our hearts,

Thank you.

Ballarat is ribbon ready #nomoresilence
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$203,065 of $55,000 goal

Raised by 4,573 people in 38 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created February 14, 2016
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38 months ago
Marcus Howard
38 months ago

Strength and Respect to the Survivors.

38 months ago
Janet Bean
38 months ago

I am very sad and sorry for all the survivors past, present and future. I salute and am in awe of the courage of the ballarat survivors . You are inspirational and I can't imagine how I could ever be as courageous and pure of heart as you. To families and loved ones of all survivors please know that there are millions of people around the world who have witnessed your pain and your dignity. You are all far greater human beings than George Pell who uses his position to obstruct the justice process and to lie and threaten anyone who dares to try to hold him to account. We all bless you

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