The Royal Commission
On Friday, 11 January 2013 the (then) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, appointed six Commissioners for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the associated terms of reference.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.
The Royal Commission will aim to understand and report on how systems have failed to protect children so it can make recommendations about how to improve laws, policies and practices to better ensure the safety of children.
What is the Royal Commission investigating?
The scope and role of the Royal Commission is to inquire into institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse and related matters. This includes but is not limited to:
a. what institutions and governments should do to better protect children against child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts in the future;
b. what institutions and governments should do to achieve best practice in encouraging the reporting of, and responding to reports or information about, allegations, incidents or risks of child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts;
c. what should be done to eliminate or reduce impediments that currently exist for responding appropriately to child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts, including addressing failures in, and impediments to, reporting, investigating and responding to allegations and incidents of abuse;
d. what institutions and governments should do to address, or alleviate the impact of, past and future child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts, including, in particular, in ensuring justice for victims through the provision of redress by institutions, processes for referral for investigation and prosecution and support services.
How you can share your story:
• Private Sessions:
A private session gives you the opportunity to speak directly and privately with a Commissioner about your child sexual abuse experience and the impact it has had on your life. It is the only option in which you can meet face to face with a Commissioner.
• In writing
You can make a written statement, write a letter or send an email as a way of sharing your child sexual abuse experience with the Royal Commission.
• In an interview
You can share your story with the Royal Commission via recorded interview, either over the phone or in person. Interviews may take place in a person’s home, a hospital, a prison setting or with people currently based overseas. A Royal Commission officer will conduct the interview.
You can get assistance with any of these processes through the Royal Commission staff or through a relevant support service.
• Public Hearings
The Royal Commission holds formal public hearings to hear evidence about child sexual abuse within institutions. The hearings focus on case studies of how institutions have responded to allegations and proven instances of child sexual abuse. The Royal Commission’s public hearings are open to the public or they can be viewed online via the Royal Commission website.
The Royal Commission have some specific support in place to assist children and young people, indigenous people, people with a disability and people who come from a culturally diverse background or speak a language other than English to tell their story. You can get more information about these supports via the Royal Commission website.
WestCASA provides support to those people impacted by the Royal Commission and can assist people wanting to access the Royal Commission. Call 03 9687 5811 for support and information.