Bachelor of Landscape Architecture 1991
A symbol of courage for child abuse victims and their families, Damian De Marco spent three decades fighting to prevent other children from sharing his experience. After he was sexually assaulted by a Marist Brother in the 1980s, Damian battled for the perpetrator to be removed from the education system and brought to justice.
Rejecting anonymity and risking his own reputation, Damian then began to speak out publicly to expose the systemic failure that protected paedophiles at the expense of children. In 2014, Damian bravely appeared publicly before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; his evidence uncovered the inadequate responses of both the institution and law enforcement authorities, and contributed to a new understanding of the grave errors of the past and how to prevent them from occurring in the future. With great strength of character and resilience, Damian stood tall for others to right the dreadful wrongs of the past.
In November 2014 Damian won the ACT Local Hero Award in the 2015 Australian of the Year Awards for his work to protect children. He subsequently was a finalist in the 2015 Australian of the year awards and an Australia Day ambassador for Canberra in 2015.
Damian continues his cause, advocating for increased transparency and accountability around the handling of child sexual abuse allegations in non-government organisations. Working between local and national government bodies and the Catholic Church, he is focused on finding a solution that works for all stakeholders for the protection of children. Damian is currently lobbying local and national political leaders to get state governments across Australia to establish bodies which will oversee the handling of allegations of child abuse in non government and religions based institution's.