Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
The Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse is concerned about how children in institutional settings have been hurt and have not been safe. They are hearing peoples’ stories from all around Australia to get a picture of what’s gone wrong. At the end of this Royal Commission a report will be written making recommendations to improve how organisations run so that children are safe. ‘Institutions’ can refers to a club, organisation, church or government agency including schools, children’s homes, missions, reserves, sports clubs, child care centres, out of home care, hostels, or juvenile justice centres.
There are different ways people can tell their stories to the Royal Commission, it can be written down, recorded over the phone, or in a private face to face session with a commissioner. By June 2014 already 1730 people had told their story to the Royal Commission in private sessions. About 40 people each week request to have a private session with a commissioner. *
There may be different reasons for people wanting to tell their story to the Royal Commission, it might be important for their own healing or they might want help to protect kids in the future. People can tell the story of someone else, with their permission or tell the story of someone who has since died. There are local agencies that can provide counselling and support for people thinking about telling their story, Relationships Australia (NT) can be contacted on 98234999
Getting information about this Royal Commission and how to talk to them or where to go for legal advice is something James Parfitt, the Community Legal Educator at NAAJA can help people with. Her job is to talk to Aboriginal people so they can understand what its all about.
If you have questions for yourself or someone you care about contact James on 89825100.
More information about the Royal Commission
NAAJA’s CLE team regularly hold stakeholder meetings regarding the Royal Commission. Some of our stakeholder’s are listed below.
NT Stolen Generations – NTSGAC Newsletter October-November 2015 (2)
Aboriginal Interpreter Service
Information about free legal advice or assistance in writing your story:
While the Royal Commission is not a court, they can refer matters to be investigated by police.
*figures from Commissioner Peter McClellans speech June 12 2014
Here is a link to a recent story on ABC’s 730NT program about the Royal Commission’s October 2013 visit to the Northern Territory:
730NT Program – Please Click Here
NAAJA has a Community Legal Education Officer whose job is to tell members of the community about the Inquiry and how people interested in telling their story to the Commission can register their interest.
NAAJA’s Community Legal Educator travels throughout the Top End of the NT. They will refer people to the specialist legal service to support the Royal Commission, Know More to get legal advice before telling their story. Interpreting and Counselling services are made available as a priority as required.
You can contact NAAJA’s Royal Commission CLE Officer on ph. 8982 5100 or 1800 898 251 toll free
Public hearing in Darwin September 22 to Oct 1st
Over seven and a half days of public hearing in focused on experiences of child sexual abuse at the Retta Dixon Home run by Australian Inland Mission (AIM), which closed in 1980. Eight courageous people told of their experiences of being physically and sexually abused as children at Retta Dixon Home. Current NT legislation into out of home care, and the criminal proceedings against a former house parent in 2002 were also examined in this public hearing.
One of the survivor witnesses said of the public hearing,
“this is something I’ve waited for 44 years to happen”
The documents and transcripts for the public hearing in Darwin (Case Study 17) is listed on the Royal Commission website:
Local support services, Danila Dilba and Relationships Australia NT offered counselling alongside Royal Commission and knowmore support staff throughout the hearing. This was offered to witnesses, family members and other supporters. All local services, including NAAJA have received an increase in enquiries about the Royal Commission and referrals following this hearing.
What happens next?
There is opportunity for people to make written submissions to the Royal Commission. On Monday 17th November oral submissions will be heard. This will be video linked from Darwin Supreme court to Sydney.