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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was instigated by the then Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard in 2013. The Commission was formed following widespread community concern regarding reports and allegations of systemic institutional failures to protect children, for whom they were responsible, from child sexual abuse. The then Governor General, the Right Honourable Quentin Bryce, appointed The Hon Justice McClellan AM as Chair of the Commission alongside five other commissioners, and the Commission was given wide-ranging powers. The Commission, due to run till the end of 2017, is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

It is the job of the Royal Commission to uncover where systems have failed to protect children so it can make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices. The Royal Commission is about creating a safer future for children. It has the power to look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children. This includes where an organisation caring for a child is responsible for the abuseor for not responding appropriately, regardless of where or when the abuse took place.

Child sexual abuse and other unlawful or improper treatment of children have a long term effect on the individual, families, society and the economy. The work of the Commission has alerted the Australian community to the scale, cost and enormity of the issue, generating a community conversation around childhood trauma and abuse more generally, and challenging entrenched patterns of stigma, taboo and secrecy.

Private sessions, public hearings, issues papers, roundtables and a comprehensive research agenda has established the framework for robust recommendations. It is anticipated that the recommendations will focus on systemic institutional cultural policy and procedural, as well as relevant legislative change so that children are protected, those responsible for children being harmed are held to account, and victims of all ages are appropriately supported with pathways to informed care and justice.

Areas of Interest / Categories: WCP 2015, WCP 2017