Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

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Australia's Governor-General, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, appointed a Royal Commission to investigate Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on 11 January 2013.  This followed the Prime Minister's announcement in November 2012 of her intention to establish a Royal Commission and discussions about its establishment with a wide range of government, community and religious leaders.  The Commonwealth Attorney-General also released a consultation paper to canvas views about the terms of reference, the form of the Royal Commission, the number and type of Royal Commissioners, and the reporting timetable.  Read PeakCare's response to the consultation paper. Read about the letters patent and terms of reference.


Six Royal Commissioners were appointed: Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM (Chair of the Commission), Mr Bob Atkinson AO APM, Justice Jennifer Coate, Mr Robert Fitzgerald AM, Professor Helen Milroy, and Mr Andrew Murray.  They will investigate how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to instances of child sexual abuse and where systems have failed to protect children.  They will make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions. Any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children, including government agencies, schools, sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, and religious organisations are within scope of the inquiry.  Regardless of where or when the abuse occurred, this includes where an organisation, considered responsible for caring for a child, is responsible for the abuse or for not responding appropriately.  An interim report must be prepared no later than 30 June 2014 and unless extended, the final report is due by the end of 2015.


Public hearings commenced in Melbourne on 3 April 2013. Transcripts are available on-line and are being webcast. Written or oral, public or private, submissions are welcome.  Services are available to provide advice and support to people who have been affected by child sexual abuse and / or wish to provide evidence to the Royal Commission.  


Follow the Royal Commission's progress at their website


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