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In our continuing series on issues related to historical child sexual abuse, the SA and NT Professional Standards Office explains the role of its Record Service.

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In 2003 the Archdiocese began responding to a growing number of requests from former residents, including British child migrants, for information about their history from their period in care at Catholic institutions in South Australia.

Former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson was instrumental in the development of the Records Service which sought to collect together as much of the historical records from these institutions as could be located, and to then structure a process of making the information available to applicants without charge.

In 2004 the Records Service Program formally commenced and is a program of the SA & NT Professional Standards Office (PSO). Records material is available to former residents themselves or to their direct descendants. Access to these records is processed through an application form which is provided from the Records Service Program.

Material from the 1800s until the 1980s is held, however, some records are not complete, sometimes quite sparse, and in some instances are not able to be located.

The PSO is mindful of the value and importance of historical information to applicants, and also of the emotional aspects inherent in seeking records. Applicants can be assured of a helpful, confidential and sensitive response to their contact and for additional assistance if required in seeking other possible avenues for ongoing searches.

Following a successful search for records, applicants are provided with copies of any relevant documentation subject to the redaction of information belonging to third party individuals. Applicants can arrange to meet with the Records Service project officer and collect documentation in person or alternatively have the material forwarded to them by registered post.

The Records Service Program is available from 8.30am until 1pm on Monday, Tuesday and Friday on 08 8210 8275 or email receptionprofstandards@adelaide.catholic.org.au.

 

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