15th December 2017
On the 12th November, 2012, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that she would be recommending that a Royal Commission be established to look into institutional responses to child sexual assault. Five years later, the Royal Commission is today handing down its final report and recommendations; including the 36 recommendations from the 2015 Working with Children Checks Report, 99 from the 2015 Redress and Civil Litigation Report and 85 recommendations from the Criminal Justice Report published in 2017.
Bravehearts acknowledges the incredible bravery and strength of the thousands of survivors who have come forward and shared their experiences; as well as those who may not have had the opportunity to be heard by the Commission, but who every day live with the harm perpetrated against them.
We know that the very existence of the Royal Commission has provided many survivors with a voice and given our country an unprecedented opportunity to positively change the way we respond to the unacceptable prevalence of sexual offences perpetrated against our children and young people.
The immense body of work undertaken by the Royal Commission, including the large volume of commissioned research, has given the Commission, governments, institutions and those of us working in the area, a more thorough picture of the immense scope of child sex offences in this country, and the impacts of not just the offences themselves, but also the way institutions and systems have responded.
Over the last 5 years, the Commissioners have heard from thousands of survivors, victim advocacy and support groups, researchers, counselling and support practitioners, legal practitioners, and institutional and government representatives; consulting widely on where institutions and our systems have failed children, young people and adult survivors.
The reports and recommendations delivered by the Royal Commission have been produced through a process of extensive consultation and considered review of the systemic failures and challenges that have prevailed in the way we have responded to this crime.
We believe that this is a landmark opportunity for Australian governments and relevant institutions to capitalise on the ground-breaking work of the Royal Commission to effect real change through legislation, policy, and resourcing that will provide for the support and best response for survivors, and for the prevention and early intervention of child sexual assault in our communities.
Over the coming months, as Bravehearts has an opportunity to develop our response to the recommendations, we will be disseminating targeted issues papers and actively liaising with governments and relevant institutions.
For Bravehearts and the children, survivors, families and supporters for whom we advocate, the handing down of the Royal Commission’s final report is only the beginning of the next important stage of change.
Hetty Johnston AM Wilma James Carol Ronken
Founder and Executive Chair Chief Executive Officer Director of Research