The achievements of the Royal Commission and the commitments in this Australian government Response are a tribute to the survivors and victims of institutional child sexual abuse, their families and supporters. Their courage has helped to create a culture of accountability and of trust in children’s voices that will help all of us to take responsibility for keeping children safe and well.
The Australian government has listened to the Royal Commission and to survivors and victims of institutional child sexual abuse. The Australian government acknowledges that much more needs to be done to prevent and protect children from sexual abuse in institutions.
Cultural change in our institutions and society more broadly, is fundamental to ensuring the safety of our children. Changing our institutional cultures and providing the legal and practical safeguards to support that change will take some time. Many of Australia’s governments and institutions have already acted to start that change, knowing that giving redress and comfort to survivors and protecting children into the future is urgent and cannot wait. In this response, the Australian government has recognised and acknowledged that there must be change, but has also highlighted where genuine efforts at reform are being made.
On 15 December 2017, the Royal Commission submitted its Final Report to the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd). The Final Report was tabled in the Australian Parliament the same day.
The Royal Commission recommended the Australian government and all state and territory governments should issue a formal response to the Final Report within six months of it being tabled.
Of the 409 recommendations in the Final Report, 84 recommendations deal with redress, which the Australian government is responding to through the creation of the National Redress Scheme for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse. Of the remaining 325 recommendations, 122 have been directed wholly or partially to the Australian government. The Response accepts, or accepts in principle 104 of these 122 recommendations. The remaining 18 recommendations directed at the Australian government are listed as being ‘for further consideration’ or are ‘noted’. The Australian government has not rejected any of the recommendations.