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Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established in response to allegations of sexual abuse of children in institutional contexts that had been emerging in Australia for many years.

The then Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard, MP, announced the decision to establish a Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on 12 November 2012.

The Terms of Reference directed us to inquire into, and report on, 'institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse and related matters'. Without limiting the scope of the inquiry, the Terms of Reference expressly required to inquire into:

  1. what institutions and governments should do to better protect children against child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts in the future
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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, ensuring justice for victims through the provision of redress by institutions, processes for referral for investigation and prosecution and support services.

The final report was handed to the Governor General on 15 December 2017.

Timeline

November 2012 - Royal Commission announced

Julia Gillard, ex-Prime Minister, announces the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

March 2013 - Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) amended

Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) was amended to allow for private sessions. The first private session was held on 7 May 2013 in Sydney.

April 2013 - Public hearings commence

The first public hearing was held at the County Court of Victoria. Since then 57 public hearings were conducted.

June 2013 - First issue paper released

Individuals and organisations were invited to contribute responses to issues raised.

April 2014 - First roundtable held

Roundtables enable representatives, regulators, policy experts, academics, survivors and advocacy groups to discuss key policy issues.

April 2014 - First case study report released

The Report into Case Study No.1: The response of institutions to the conduct of Steven Larkins, was released.

June 2014 - Interim report released

The report outlined why we are here, what we have done, what we are learning and what we need to do next.

September 2014 - Royal Commission gets extended

The Australian Government announced its decision to extend the Royal Commission until 15 December 2017.

January 2015 - First consultation paper released

Individuals and organisations were invited to contribute responses through consultation papers.

August 2015 - Working With Children Checks report released

This report contains the Royal Commission’s final recommendations on Working With Children Checks

September 2015 - Redress and civil litigation report released

This report contains the Royal Commission’s final recommendations on redress and civil litigation.

July 2016 - Child safe organisation elements published

Making institutions child safe through examining the key elements to encourage child safe standards.

August 2017 - Criminal justice report released

This report contains the Royal Commission’s final recommendations on the response of the criminal justice system to victims of institutional CSA.

December 2017 - Message to Australia

A book that gave people an opportunity to share a message about their experience and hopes for creating a safer future for children.

December 2017 - The Final Report

This report was presented to the Governor-General, detailing the culmination of a five year inquiry into institutional responses to child abuse.

Message to Australia

‘Message to Australia’ gave those who bravely told their story to the Royal Commission an opportunity to share a message with the Australian community about their experience and hopes for creating a safer future for children. These messages were published in a commemorative book that was handed over to the National Library of Australia during the final sitting of the Royal Commission on 14 December 2017. The book is on display at the National Library of Australia and in all state and territory libraries. 

Sourcing further information about the Royal Commission

Further information and documentation including individual case studies, the findings, witness lists, transcripts, exhibits, associated submissions, ‘Messages to Australia’, narratives, speeches, images and videos are available on www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

Ordering materials

Click here to order materials. Note: Domestic orders only.

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