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Published: 15 December 2017
Author: Amy Olver

Royal Commission's final report on sex abuse demands action

The final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (‘the Commission’) was released today.

The report, which contains 17 volumes, marks the end of the Commission’s tireless work. Over the course of the Commission more than 16,000 people contacted the Commission and the Commissioner’s heard the stories of over 8,000 survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. More than one thousand written accounts were provided also to the Commission.

The message of the final report is clear: not only did individuals and institutions fail survivors, society as a whole failed them too. The report urges change and warns that it would be a mistake to assume that sexual abuse in institutions will not continue to occur in the future. The Commissioners make it clear that there is much work to be done in “continuing development of effective government regulation, improvement in institutional governance and increased community awareness of child sexual abuse in institutions”.

The executive summary of the report acknowledges the failure of those who refused to listen to survivors’ complaints, noting this included the police and child protection agencies. Further, it is noted that leaders of religious organisations placed the reputation of their organisations above the interests of the child.

It is now vital that the work of the Commission is not devalued by a further failure to act.

The final report urges the implementation of the extensive recommendations made by the Commissioners. If the governments of Australia are serious in effecting change for survivors they must adhere to the recommendations and not lose momentum. The Commissioner’s recommendations implore the government to have ongoing periodic reporting and review. 

Ryan Carlisle Thomas supports the recommendations made by the Royal Commission and continues to advocate for a federal redress scheme which properly enables survivors access not only compensation but justice.

Our specialised team will be providing further comment on other aspects of the Commission’s final report and providing updates regarding redress over the coming weeks and months.