RESPONSE TO ABC 7:30 REPORT

We would like to respond to false and misleading statements contained in two ABC 7:30 Report episodes.  Both contained a number of inaccuracies and have had a devastating impact on the reputation of our organisation.  Heal For life is about finding love and happiness in life and not dwelling on negative events.  However, the misleading information from the 7:30 Report has deeply hurt a number of people, in particular Jo Hennessy’s husband, it would, therefore, be remiss of us to remain silent on these matters.

We wish to reassure potential guests that we have extensive experience supporting those who have experienced childhood trauma and/or abuse.  Establishing and maintaining a safe environment at Heal for Life is a priority as guests cannot begin to heal when they do not feel safe.   This has often been an unrealised blocking factor in their previous attempts to heal.

We receive a lot of positive feedback and only publish testimonials if a guest is happy to have their name on our website and provides written consent.  We welcome all feedback on our programs.  If you would like to read about the thoughts and experiences of past guests please visit our testimonials page.

The ABC 7:30 Report did not provide balanced reports and failed to present key information for each of these stories.  Please click the respective link below to continue reading each statement.

Statement regarding the November 2013 report

Heal for Life (HFL) is deeply saddened that a small number of former carers and staff have chosen to make false statements about HFL to the media. The allegations include that we encourage or accept self-harm, that our training is inadequate and that the CEO, Liz Mullinar AM, encourages false beliefs in satanic ritual abuse (SRA).  With one exception, none of the former carers or staff who appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 Report raised any of the issues while they were working at HFL and none left HFL because of those issues. Each of them had previously praised the HFL programs and their effect on survivors of childhood trauma and abuse.

HFL currently has over 70 carers. It has helped more than 6,500 people since it was established and has a more than 90% guest satisfaction rating. HFL at the time provided detailed responses to every one of 7.30 Report’s limited questions, as well as a copy of a recent independent review commissioned in response to the complaints.   A sub-committee of the Board’s independent directors thoroughly investigated these complaints in 2012 made by former volunteers and ‘staff’ about HFL. This included asking an independent agency (QIP) to conduct a review of HFL’s policies, systems and procedures using the complaints as a reference. The QIP review was very favourable and we have implemented the small number of recommended improvements…. Read the full statement

Statement regarding the April 2014 report

HFL is disappointed that the ABC’s 7.30 Report ran a story on 17 April 2014 without seeking comment from the HFL Board or advising us of the nature of the story that it intended to air. The story related to a woman, Jo Hennessy, who attended HFL programs on two occasions.

HFL considers the effect of that failure as ABC broadcasting a story that was not only unfair and unbalanced, but contained a number of false and misleading statements as set out below. More importantly, HFL considers that the effect of that failure was that the ABC effectively supported an alleged perpetrator without ever attempting to tell the victim’s (i.e. Ms Hennessy’s or, in her absence, her husband’s) side of the story. HFL has written to the ABC and pointed out the inaccuracies in their story, and requested, as a minimum, that they remove the story from their website. The ABC has refused to do so…. Read the full statement