Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Releases Final Report

Tuesday 19 December 2017 @ 11.40 a.m. | Crime | Legal Research

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (‘the Commission’) released its final report on 15 December 2017 after a five-year long inquiry. The Commission produced numerous reports, including the final report, through reference to personal accounts, public hearings, and research and policy work.


The Commission was established in 2013 in order to investigate how organisations have managed and responded to child abuse within institutions. The Commission released an Interim Report in July 2014, which has been covered by TimeBase in an earlier article. Following the interim report, the Commission released a 'Working with Children Checks Report' in August 2015 and a 'Redress and Civil Litigation Report' in September 2015, of which an overview has been previously provided by TimeBase. Finally, the Commission released a Criminal Justice Report in August 2017, which TimeBase has previously reported on.

Recommendations in Final Report

Some of the key recommendations in the final Report are as follows:

  • The conducting and publication of a nationally representative prevalence study on child maltreatment in institutional and non-institutional contexts;
  • The establishment of a mechanism to oversee the implementation of a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse;
  • The incorporation of prevention and awareness education through school, pre-school, community instruction, social marketing campaigns and other appropriate methods;
  • The establishment of a National Office for Child Safety;
  • Implementing stricter mandatory reporting provisions for persons in religious ministry in order to require them to report knowledge or suspicions formed on the basis of information disclosed within religious confession.

The report had further specific recommendations for state and territory governments to implement. Some of these key recommendations are as follows:

  • Requiring institutions which provide child related services to comply with Child Safe Standards as set out in the Report;
  • The establishment of an independent oversight body responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Child Safe Standards;
  • The designation of child safety officer positions within local governments with support from the national, state and territory levels.

Legislative Developments

The Australian Government has introduced a Commonwealth Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child abuse, following the publication of the report 'Redress and Civil Litigation.' The scheme is comprised of a package of two Bills, the Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Bill 2017 (Cth) and the Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017 (Cth). For further information on the redress scheme, read TimeBase’s earlier article.

Responses to Report

In a media release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister, the Australian Government stated:

"The Turnbull Government is committed to carefully, comprehensively and appropriately responding to the substantial work of this Royal Commission.  The Turnbull Government is announcing today it will provide $52.1 million to ensure there is support and assistance for victims throughout the process of accessing redress. The Turnbull Government will also establish a taskforce to consider and coordinate action on the recommendations and track the progress made by all Australian governments. The taskforce will operate from January 2018 until June 2020. The Government will now carefully consider the recommendations and respond in full next year."

In an online statement, Pope Francis said:

"The final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Australia is the result of the accurate efforts made by the Commission in recent years and deserves to be studied in depth."

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.


Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

[Media release] Office of the Prime Minister of Australia, 'Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.'

Riley Stuart, 'Pope Francis says sex abuse royal commission findings should be 'studied in depth',' 17 December 2017 (ABC Online).

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