The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established last year to investigate how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.
After its first year of operation, the commission is launching a national public awareness campaign calling for survivors of child sexual abuse to come forward and share their stories.
The campaign announcement follows a telephone survey with 2,000 participants that found about 65% of people polled were aware of the Royal Commission, while 24% did not know the role of the Royal Commission.
Key survey findings include:
- people aged 50+ were most likely to be aware of the Royal Commission
- 24% did not know the role of the Royal Commission
- 40% did not know which organisations the Royal Commission could examine
- 50% did not know how to share their story with the Royal Commission
- residents from NSW/ACT were most likely to be aware of the Royal Commission (74%); followed by SA/NT 68%, TAS
- 67%, VIC and WA 62% and QLD 57%
The commissions Chief Executive Officer, Janette Dines, said regional and remote communities were the focus of a national public awareness campaign launched on Saturday.
While more than 1400 people have already shared their story with a royal commissioner, there may be many more people who are yet to make contact.
This campaign is an opportunity for all Australians, no matter where they live, to find out more about the work of the royal commission and how survivors can share their story of child sexual abuse.
Ms Dines said royal commission information would be distributed across an extensive network of government bodies, community groups and service providers.
The Royal Commission will investigate where systems have failed to protect children and make recommendations to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions. It will look at private, public or non-government organisations which are, or have previously been, involved with children, including government agencies, schools, sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, and religious organisations.
The commission has a national focus and expects to hold 21 weeks of public hearing in the first half of 2014 in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australian and the ACT. It will also aim to provide 800 private sessions to victims in regional areas.
The government has received input from organisations associated with child abuse and neglect, including Act for Kids, community and legal leaders, law enforcement, governments and religious organisations. The Royal Commission will prepare an interim report by 30 June 2014 and the final report is expected at the end of 2015.
For more information visit http://childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/