Ribbons on a section of the cathedral fence

Bishop Paul Bird offers this update following discussions about ribbons on the cathedral fence.

In March this year, LOUD fence ribbons were removed from the St Patrick’s Cathedral fence following consultations between members of LOUD fence and representatives of St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, to allow maintenance work to be undertaken.

In 2015, during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the LOUD fence began tying ribbons to fences in Ballarat and beyond, as a sign of solidarity and support for those who suffered child sexual abuse in institutional settings.

While maintenance work was undertaken, Parish Council and LOUD fence representatives began discussions for a long-term memorial on the grounds of St Patrick’s Cathedral to acknowledge victim survivors, their loved ones and supporters who experienced child sexual abuse in church settings and elsewhere.

We hope that the memorial will provide ongoing recognition of those who experience the ongoing impacts of child sexual abuse, be a reminder for the continuing attention to safeguarding children and vulnerable people in the community and promote healing across the Ballarat community.

With maintenance work on the fence completed, Bishop Paul, together with representatives of the Parish Council and LOUD fence have announced a next step to be taken while discussions about a long-term memorial continue. As an interim arrangement, ribbons will be placed on a dedicated section of the cathedral fence on Sturt Street.

Parish representatives gathered with LOUD fence members at 11 am on Saturday, July 6 to tie ribbons to the dedicated section of fence. Parishioners and LOUD fence invited anyone who wished to tie a ribbon as a sign of support for victim/survivors, their loved ones, and supporters and as a reminder for continuing to safeguard children and vulnerable people everywhere.