In January 2013, the Commonwealth Government appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.
The Royal Commission will focus on where systems have failed to protect children and will make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions. It can examine 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.
The Royal Commission is separate to Victoria’s Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations. For more information, visit the Parliament of Victoria website (External link)
Individuals who would like to share their experience with the Royal Commission about child sexual abuse in an institutional context can telephone, write, email or submit an online form (External link)
For more information, visit the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse website (External link)
There are a number of support services available to anyone affected by child sexual abuse or seeking assistance to get involved with the Royal Commission:
- Sexual Assault Crisis Line (External link) 1800 806 292
- Specialist support, advice or counselling related to sexual assault
- Kids Helpline (External link) 1800 55 1800
- Specialist support and counselling for children and young people
- Victims of Crime Helpline (External link) 1800 819 817
- Going to court and other support services in Victoria
- Better Health Channel
- Health information and services related to child abuse, mental health and trauma
- Community health directory
- Locate your nearest community health care centres
- Department of Human Services
The Royal Commission’s website provides information about a range of services (External link) available in Victoria and other states and territories.
Family Information Networks and Discovery
In Victoria, Family Information Networks and Discovery (FIND) helps people to access personal and family information, records and support regarding former Wards of State in Victoria.
For help accessing records in order to provide information to the Royal Commission, you can contact FIND on 03 8608 5700. For more information on FIND, visit the Department of Human Services website (External link)
Knowmore is a free, independent legal service for people who are seeking legal advice prior to contacting or providing information to the Royal Commission.
Knowmore can provide:
- legal advice and assistance
- legal information and referral to related services where necessary
- assistance with preparing written statements and submissions
For more information, visit the Knowmore website (External link) or call the free advice line during business hours on 1800 605 762 (AEST 9am-5pm).
Child sexual abuse is a serious criminal offence. While the Royal Commission will provide one avenue for people to tell their stories, reports can also be made to the police.
If you have previously settled a claim against the state on terms that include obligations of confidentiality, you can still tell your story to the Royal Commission. The state will waive its reliance on any such obligations for the purpose of the Royal Commission.
If you have any queries about settled claims and confidentiality obligations please contact Mark Thierry on 03 9032 3019 or via email
The Australian Institute of Family Studies is the Australian Government's key research body in the area of family wellbeing. In support of the Royal Commission, the institue has collated research papers, articles, fact sheets, and presentations concerning all aspects of child sexual abuse.
This information, aimed at victims of child sexual abuse and their families, practitioners or service providers, and interested members of the public can be found on the Australian Institute of Family Studies website (External link)