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.