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Welcome message from the Founder and CEO Roch Longuepe on behalf of Restoring Dignity.

Friday, February 24, 2012 On behalf of Restoring Dignity and our affiliates, we welcome each of you to the 2012 SIA Convention. We are pleased to be co-sponsors of this event. My friends, something is terribly wrong with the way our nations treat their young. Our child welfare systems are broken. Our most vulnerable have been and continue to be subject to some of the worst human rights violations. For those of you who think you are the first group, who has suffered horrible atrocities as children - you're not. You are connected with generations of others across the centuries, globally. You are not the first, we were not the first, and we will not be the last. Both the legacy of institutional child abuse and its on-going saga are far from over. Theres a great deal of work to be done. For those of us who are damaged we cannot change the past. We do, however, have the power to change the future starting today. The legacy of our cause must be about finding help for those harmed. The focus of the future must be about prevention. Ensuring tomorrow's children are not subjected to the same atrocities. We must send a message to our adversaries that the harming of a child in whatever form, is unjustified and unacceptable. We are continually degraded by policies and practices, which ignore our common humanity. We each have something important to contribute to ending institutional child abuse. 'The truth to reconcile all truths' will be found in our collective experiences. We here at Restoring Dignity encourage you all to set aside your differences and work together on those things which work for our common good. The message I bring to you today is this. We are not just dealing with problems of the past; we are dealing with problems of the present and future. Those problems do not just affect the victims. They affect us all. Now, more than ever these victims of abuse need all the help we can give them. And it is the responsibility of all of us to do all we can to support their personal growth. Today is also a day of reflection. We come here to remember our friends and loved ones, living and dead, stricken by the scourge of institutional child abuse. As we mourn lost lives, we must also measure how our response can affect that human tragedy. For the friends and families of our dead present today, I know at times you must feel very alone with your pain and suffering. But I want to say that many of us are determined to continue this journey with you. I hope you will take heart from the knowledge that you are joined with others in every land.
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We are united in a common purpose; we are determined to build a future without institutional child abuse. Know that across the many miles between us, your neighbor and friend Canada, stands with you. We encourage you to find your voice now individually and collectively. As the old slogan says so well, United we stand, divided we fall. In a message to all Canadians, and in his final moments of life, beloved Canadian Politician, Jack Layton wrote: "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And well change the world." Let us resolve never to yield to the cruelties and obstacles of obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans, nor cling to illusions of security. Friend and foe alike, we each share in the investment of peaceful progress. With a good conscience as our guide, may all our endeavors make way for a world where the strong are just and the weak safe. From our Canadian family of survivors to yours, we wish you God speed on the collective journey to ending institutional child abuse.

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Restoring Dignity is a non-partisan, non religious based NGO, inspired, in part by Restoring Dignity" The Law Commission of Canada's March, 2000 report on Child abuse in Canadian institutions. Restoring Dignity is an international organization that works with people who, as children, were abused under the auspices of institutions. As part of our mandate we also work on the issues of poverty in Canada. The guiding principles and values of Restoring Dignity embrace the dignity of individuals and cultures and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unlike many groups involved in the field of institutional child abuse, Restoring Dignity works with all forms of institutional child abuse affecting all cultures, marginalized individuals and groups as well as children. In an effort to educate society on the issue of institutional child abuse, Restoring Dignity has set out to define what an institution is and the role institutions play in society, in particular those which work with marginalized groups, cultures and children. Working from the model of national inquiries conducted in Australia on institutional child abuse, Restoring Dignity is currently planning to establish a national inquiry on institutional child abuse in Canada. Restoring Dignity is also involved in aiding institutional child abuse survivors to establish civil remedies and other forms of redress within Canada. Restoring Dignity recognizes that not only have survivors experienced unspeakable abuses as children, but as they become adults and parents they may be powerless to stop the cycles of abuse from continuing in their own families and communities. For this reason Restoring Dignity opposes adversarial approaches to redress and healing. The countless stories on the issue of institutional victims becoming abusers bare a similar plot to that of Mary Shelleys Frankenstein where the abuse can be attributed not to the individual but the circumstances of the individuals development. The endeavour of Restoring Dignity is to reverse this effect and to offer hope and purpose to the millions of lives institutional child abuse has impacted in Canada and abroad. Restoring Dignity aspires to become the official watchdog on the issue of institutional child abuse at home and abroad and to eventually provide full services to survivors, their families and communities.


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