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Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse logo

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)

Getting involved in the Royal Commission

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)

Support services

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: 

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)

Legal advice

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).

Reporting a crime

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.

For information on how to report a crime, visit the Victims of Crime (External link) or the Victoria Police (External link) website.

Victoria Police

If you have experienced child sexual abuse in the past, you can contact Victoria Police’s Sano Taskforce by email or for more information, visit the Victoria Police website (External link)

If you want to report a child in immediate danger of sexual abuse please call Triple Zero (000) (External link), or contact your local police station (External link).

You may speak to police confidentially even if you do not want to be involved in an investigation. Any information you provide to police may assist them in other investigations and in the prevention of further child sexual abuse. 

You can also make a confidential report by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. For more information, visit the Crime Stoppers website (External link)

Reporting a concern about a child’s safety

If you have concerns about the safety of a child or young person who may currently be at risk of harm, contact the Department of Human Services.

Confidentiality agreements with the state

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

Further information

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)


Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander flags

The department acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.