If you have experienced childhood trauma, you can speak with a Blue Knot Helpline trauma counsellor including for support and applications around national redress

1300 657 380
Monday - Sunday
between 9am - 5pm AEST
or via email helpline@blueknot.org.au


Do you live with disability?  Have you experienced abuse, neglect, violence or exploitation?

For support for Disability Royal Commission or general support contact our National Counselling & Referral Service

1800 421 468
9am - 6pm AEST Mon- Fri
9am - 5pm AEST Sat, Sun & public holidays


Blue Knot Day





Blue Knot Award

The Blue Knot Day Award recognises an individual whose work furthers the needs of adult survivors of childhood trauma; someone who leads and inspires communities to unite in support of survivors.

The Award recognises those who have broken the silence and taboo by speaking out, eroding the stigma of abuse and thereby helping survivors overcome their shame. Fostering hope and optimism, the Award recipient has shown that help is available and recovery is possible by promoting pathways towards health and wellbeing.

Blue Knot Foundation would like to congratulate Manny Waks, a most worthy recipient of the Blue Knot Day 2016 Award. 

Blue Knot Day Award

See below video of Dr Cathy Kezelman presenting the Blue Knot Day 2016 Award to Manny Waks: 

No Blue Knot Award was presented in 2015 or 2017


Blue Knot Award recipients

2018 Recipient - Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard - Australian Prime Minister

The 2018 annual Blue Knot Day Award was presented to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her foresight, determination and courage in establishing the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Ms Gillard had, by her action, upheld the vision of the annual award – raising awareness, tackling stigma, fostering hope and promoting recovery for survivors of complex childhood trauma. To read more, click here

2016 Recipient - Manny Waks

Manny WaksThe 2016 Blue Knot Award was presented to Manny Waks for "shattering the secrecy of abusive silence and doggedly pursuing truth and justice for survivors at home and abroad."

From the age of eleven, he was sexually abused by two members of staff at Melbourne's Yeshivah centre. Manny reported the abuse to the Yeshivah leadership and police in 1996. When no action was taken, Manny went public in 2011 about his personal experiences of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community, subsequently he undertook extensive work as a victim advocate. 

In 2012, he established Tzedek, an Australia-based support and advocacy group for Jewish victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. Manny featured in the 2014 ABC documentary, Code of Silence, and the 2015 sequel Breaking the Silence, which covered his personal story of the abuse and its aftermath.

Manny is currently CEO of Kol v'Oz, which he established in Israel in 2016 to prevent child sexual abuse in Jewish communities globally.

Acceptance from Manny:

I was honoured (and surprised) to be given their Blue Knot Day Award with a beautifully written personal inscription - coming from one of Australia's most respected support organisations and leaders (my dear friend and colleague Dr Cathy Kezelman).

2014 Recipient - John Ellis

John Ellis

The Blue Knot Award for 2014 went to John Ellis. John is a survivor of clergy abuse, perpetrated when he was an altar boy. John had a 12 year battle seeking personal justice from the Catholic Church. The Ellis case which went to the High Court in 2007 established in case law that the trustees that hold the assets of the Church cannot be sued. The 8th public hearing of the Royal Commission examined the response of the Catholic Church to the complaint made by John Ellis to Towards Healing and the conduct of the Church through 3½ years of litigation. 

John runs a specialist legal practice for clergy abuse claims, claims against Churches, Charities and other Institutions and to provide assistance around engaging with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. In his role as a lawyer and legal advocate, he continues the battle for other survivors. His steadfast determination integrity and recovery despite it all are an inspiration.

Acceptance from John Ellis
"I am humbled and honoured by yesterday’s award. It is a testament to the hundreds of survivors of abuse who have stood behind me, without which I would not have had the strength to keep up the fight. 

It is also a credit to all those who have triumphed over adversity. Seeing the light come back into the eyes of a survivor we have worked with and seeing new hope breathed into their lives by having an institution accept accountability and free them from the shackles of shame and guilt is what sustains me and what will ensure that while I breathe, I will continue to do the work that needs to be done to have this be the reality for all survivors."

2013 Recipient - Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox

Peter FoxThe Blue Knot Award 2013 goes to Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, a 30+ year veteran of the NSW police force, during which time he sought to investigate countless child sexual abuse cases. In November 2012, Peter Fox put his job on the line and went public with the shocking information that his investigations had uncovered. 
When Peter went to the media with his disturbing claims of systemic cover-up of institutional child abuse, he alerted the entire nation to an insidious social problem that had been ignored for decades.  He courageously spoke out against the crowd, not only tackling the stigma of abuse but also the secrecy, silence and power structures which have perpetuated it. In so doing, he raised awareness about child sexual abuse and the factors which have enabled it to continue within our institutions. Without Peter’s fortitude and determination, arguably there would be no Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse and the suffering of thousands of victims of institutional child abuse would still be unacknowledged. 
The Royal Commission has empowered Australian survivors and given them the opportunity to tell their story, and contribute to real change. With his continued support for survivors and his unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth, Peter fosters hope and helps promote recovery for survivors and the community at large.
Peter Fox dedicated his Award to the father of a child abuse victim who died the previous week after losing a battle with cancer. His son had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by a notorious Hunter priest from the age of 12.

2012 Recipient - Maggie Dawson

Maggie Dawson

The Blue Knot Award 2012 was presented to Maggie Dawkins by John Teer, ASCA Chair (see left picture) “for courageously speaking out about abuse in her community and her ongoing support of survivors”. 

Maggie Dawkins is the wife of John Dawkins, ex-labour treasurer. She was a group leader for Westrek - a WA government youth training and employment project - in 1985. She tried to lift the lid on the actions of notorious serial paedophile Dennis McKenna in the small community of Katanning but was effectively run out of town. Her complaints were not taken seriously and as a result McKenna continued to perpetrate against child victims in his care, as hostel warden at St. Andrews Hostel. The Blaxell inquiry which reported recently exonerated Maggie’s behaviour. Throughout the inquiry she has continued to support victims in the town and 27 years later has been vindicated.

Maggie Dawson alerted a town to the actions of an insidious perpetrator. She courageously spoke out against the crowd, tackling the stigma of abuse and the secrecy and silence which perpetuates it. In so doing so raised awareness about its existence. During the court cases against Dennis McKenna, decades later she has supported the victims; she has supported them through the recent Blaxell inquiry in WA fostering hope and as they have become empowered, promoting recovery, and she continues to support the community in an ongoing basis.

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Head to Health


“Blue Knot Foundation has a key role to play in the building of community capacity in care provision to those who have experienced childhood abuse and trauma in any environment.”

NIALL MULLIGAN Manager, Lifeline Northern Rivers

“I think Blue Knot Foundation is a fantastic support organisation for people who have experienced childhood trauma/abuse, for their families/close friends and for professionals who would like to learn how to more effectively work with these people.”

Psychologist Melbourne

“It's such a beautiful thing that you are doing. Helping people to get through this.”


“It was only last September when I discovered the Blue Knot Foundation website and I will never forget the feeling of support and empathy that I received when I finally made the first phone call to Blue Knot Helpline, which was also the first time I had ever spoken about my abuse.”


"At last there is some sound education and empathetic support for individuals and partners impacted by such gross boundary violations.”


Contact Us

Phone: 02 8920 3611
PO Box 597 Milsons Point NSW 1565
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEST

Blue Knot Helpline
Phone: 1300 657 380
Email: helpline@blueknot.org.au 
Hours: Mon-Sun, 9am-5pm AEST

For media comment, please contact:
Dr Cathy Kezelman
+61 425 812 197
+61 2 8920 3611
or ckezelman@blueknot.org.au

For media enquiries, please contact: 
Jo Scard
+61 457 725 953 
or jo@fiftyacres.com