Australian Government Reports
On 14 December 2018, the Australian Government tabled its first Annual Progress Report: Implementation of the Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Annual Progress Report). It outlines the Australian Government’s progress in implementing recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission). The Royal Commission delivered its Final Report on 15 December 2017, making a total of 409 recommendations to better protect children from sexual abuse in Australian institutions. The Australian Government has committed to reporting annually on the progress of implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations. This first Annual Progress Report shows the progress that the Australian Government has made to implement recommendations directed towards it, in whole or in part, and highlights some of the ongoing work that will continue in 2019 and beyond. Given the number of recommendations made by the Royal Commission, the recommendations have been grouped into five themes, outlined below. For a full list of what is covered by each theme, please see the index of the report.
Theme 1: Making institutions child safe
Theme 1 of this Annual Report provides updates on measures taken by the Australian Government to implement recommendations to improve child safety within institutions. It covers recommendations contained in the following volumes of the Final Report:
- Volume 6 – Making institutions child safe
- Volume 8 – Recordkeeping and information sharing
- Volume 12 – Contemporary out-of-home care
- Volume 13 – Schools
- Volume 14 – Sport, recreation, arts, culture, community and hobby groups
- Volume 15 – Contemporary detention environments.
Theme 1 includes updates on the progress of the Australian Government in relation to:
- National Leadership, Policies and Frameworks, such as establishing the National Office for Child Safety and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation; and implementing the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and Child Safe Standards
- Strengthening Child Safety in Australian Government Institutions, such as the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework
- Making Contemporary Detention Environments Safer, such as implementing the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)
- Education Sector Reforms
- Online Safety, and
- Better Access to Information.
Theme 2: Causes, support and treatment
Theme 2 looks at progress made by the Australian Government to address the Royal Commission’s recommendations regarding the complex issues of why and how child sexual abuse happens, about children with harmful sexual behaviours in institutions, and how victims and survivors can be supported better to recover from trauma. This theme covers recommendations that were included in the following volumes of the Final Report:
- Volume 2 – Nature and cause
- Volume 9 – Advocacy, support and therapeutic treatment services
- Volume 10 – Children with harmful sexual behaviours.
Theme 2 includes updates on the progress of the Australian Government in relation to:
- Improving Understanding of the Nature and Causes of Child Sexual Abuse, such as establishing a National Centre of Excellence
- Supports for Victims and Survivors, such as further funding for the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, and the knowmore legal service, and
- Children with Harmful Sexual Behaviours.
Theme 3: Responses to abuse (Redress and Civil Litigation Report)
The Royal Commission’s Redress and Civil Litigation Report (Redress Report) was released in September 2015. It made recommendations for all Australian governments to remove legal barriers for survivors to access justice through changes to civil litigation laws, and to provide redress to people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse. These recommendations were also included in the Royal Commission’s Final Report.
Theme 3 provides information on the Australian Government’s actions to:
- deliver the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse on 22 October 2018, as part of the Australian Government’s response to the Royal Commission’s Final Report
- amend Limitation Periods, including changes to the Commonwealth’s handling of historic child sexual abuse claims
- establish the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, and
- provide Compensation for Individuals who experienced sexual or physical abuse in the Australian Defence Forces, such as reform to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) compensation systems, and additional support services provided by DVA.
Theme 4: Criminal justice and the protection of children
Theme 4 covers actions taken by the Australian Government to address recommendations made by the Royal Commission to better protect children from child sexual abuse by reforming criminal justice systems in Australia. This includes recommendations made to strengthen mandatory reporting and reportable conduct laws, and strengthen protections under state and territory Working with Children Checks. These recommendations can be found in the Royal Commission’s Working with Children Checks Report (released in August 2015), and the Criminal Justice Report (released in August 2017), and Volume 7 of the Final Report.
Theme 5: Accountability and annual reporting
Theme 5 covers measures taken by the Australian Government to implement recommendations made by the Royal Commission, to ensure accountability and transparency of actions and the legacy of the Royal Commission. Theme 5 includes the Australian Government’s commitment to:
- annual progress reporting, and
- a 10 year review on implementation.
These recommendations can be found in Volume 17 of the Final Report.