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Role of Australian Government agencies

Since 2013, when the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) started, the Australian Government has focused on protecting children from institutional sexual abuse and addressed issues for survivors and victims.

The Australian Government is determined to address the wrongs of the past and take meaningful action to ensure children are safe in all aspects of their life – physically, mentally and online.

All areas of the Australian Government are working together to:

  • prevent child sexual abuse
  • improve how institutions respond to child sexual abuse, and
  • make sure that victims and survivors get justice, treatment and support.

For information on the Australian Government’s progress in implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations please read our Annual Progress Reports.

Improving national leadership and coordination

Implementation Taskforce

On 15 December 2017, the Australian Government announced that a Child Abuse Royal Commission Implementation Taskforce (Taskforce) would be established in the Attorney-General's Department to carefully consider the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s Final Report and coordinate and deliver the Australian Government Response.

The Taskforce is working closely with Australian Government agencies and states and territories to coordinate, monitor and track the implementation of Royal Commission recommendations directed wholly or partially at the Australian Government.  Other recommendations are being implemented by state and territory governments and non-government institutions. The Taskforce will operate until June 2020.

National Office for Child Safety

As recommended by the Royal Commission, the Australian Government established the National Office for Child Safety within the Department of Social Services, commencing on 1 July 2018. On 24 January 2019, the National Office for Child Safety moved to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

For more information on initiatives overseen by the National Office for Child Safety visit its website.

Establishing child safe organisations and frameworks

National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

The Council of Australian Governments endorsed the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (National Principles) in February 2019. The National Principles are 10 high-level principles that put into practice the Royal Commission’s recommended Child Safe Standards. The National Principles create cultures and practices in organisations that support child safety and wellbeing across all sectors in Australia.

The National Office for Child Safety is leading work to implement the National Principles.

 For more information visit the National Office for Child Safety’s website.

Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

The Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, established in August 2017, is the Australian Government’s child safety policy. Under the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, all non-corporate Commonwealth entities must put procedures in place to promote the protection of children in the services and activities they fund.

For more information visit the National Office for Child Safety’s website.

National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

The National Office for Child Safety is developing a National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, as recommended by the Royal Commission. The National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse will focus on encouraging cultural change, supporting victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, and developing initiatives aimed at adult offenders.

For more information visit the National Office for Child Safety’s website.

Defence Youth Safety Reform

The Defence Youth Safety Framework was developed in 2015. The Defence Youth Safety Framework makes sure there is a high standard of youth safety across Defence. The Defence Youth Safety Framework comprises policy, training, governance and assurance elements that apply across the Australian Defence Force, Army, Navy and Airforce personnel as well as Australian Public Service staff from the Department of Defence.

For more information visit the Defence Youth Safety Framework website.

Safe Sport Australia

Sport Australia¹ is Australia’s primary national sports administration and advisory agency, and the cornerstone of a wide-ranging sports system. Sport Australia plays a central leadership role in the development and operation of the Australian sports system.

Sport Australia is strongly committed to Australian sport environments that are safe, supportive, and friendly for children. For more information on current frameworks, policies and resources aimed at supporting children’s safety visit Sport Australia’s website.

¹Sport Australia is a brand name of the Australian Sports Commission, a Commonwealth entity within the Australian Government’s Department of Health Portfolio.

Ensuring online safety and security for children

Office of the eSafety Commissioner

In 2015, the Australian Government implemented measures to create a safer online environment for Australian children.

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner (eSafety Office) was established to help protect people from cyberbullying harm and take a national leadership role in online safety. The eSafety Office works with children, parents, teachers, schools and universities, as well as with government and non-government organisations to deliver national online safety education.

For more information on online safety, and to access online safety resources visit the Office of the eSafety Commissioner website.

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

The Australian Government established the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) in 2018. It is a centre of expertise and specialist skills that provides a coordinated response to the online exploitation of children both in Australia and overseas. The ACCCE combines the resources and experience of all Australian governments, as well as non-government organisations and private industry.

For more information visit the ACCCE’s website.

Providing support for victims and survivors

National Redress Scheme

The Australian Government established the National Redress Scheme in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. It started on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years.

The National Redress Scheme recognises that many children were sexually abused in Australian institutions. It seeks to hold those institutions to account and to help people who have experienced abuse access redress.

For more information visit the National Redress Scheme website.

National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

The Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, delivered the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse  (the National Apology) on 22 October 2018. The National Apology was offered to all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in institutions, their families, supporters and all those affected by abuse. It aimed to raise awareness in the community of the lifelong impacts of child sexual abuse and the need to help and protect children across all sectors, both government and non-government.

One year later, on 22 October 2019, the Prime Minister delivered a first anniversary speech for the National Apology in the House of Representatives.

More information can be found on the National Apology page.

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions’ website for victims and witnesses

In February 2019, the Attorney‑General launched the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions’ new website for victims and witnesses of crime. The website includes information, guidance and support to help victims of crime, witnesses, carers and support people understand the prosecution process.