On 22 October 2018, the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, delivered the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. On behalf of the Australian Government and all Australians, the Prime Minister apologised to victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, as well as their families, supporters and all those affected by abuse.
The National Apology acknowledged and apologised for the appalling abuse endured by vulnerable children, including current generations, by the very people who were supposed to care for them, leaving immeasurable and lasting damage. It is hoped that the National Apology has also raised awareness in the community about the lifelong impacts of child sexual abuse, to help protect children now and into the future.
The Prime Minister delivered the formal National Apology, and the Leader of the Opposition addressed guests in the Great Hall, after moving the National Apology in the House of Representatives.
After the motion of apology was moved, it was referred to the Federation Chamber to allow for further speakers to speak to the motion. On 25 October, the apology was returned to the House of Representatives from the Federation Chamber and was passed in the House of Representatives. The motion of apology was moved and passed in the Senate on 12 November 2018.
On 22 October 2019, the Prime Minister delivered a speech in the House of Representatives on the first anniversary of the National Apology. The Prime Minister honoured the strength and endurance of survivors, victims and those with lived experience of abuse. The Prime Minister reminded us all that child safety is everyone’s responsibility. Also on the first anniversary, the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, presented the signed parchment of the National Apology to Parliament House to be on display for visitors.
On 22 October 2020, the Prime Minister delivered a speech in the House of Representatives on the second anniversary of the National Apology. The Prime Minister reminded all Australians of the need to protect our children, to provide justice to those who have suffered abuse and to take action to prevent future harm to children. The Prime Minister also highlighted the progress made by the Australian Government during 2020 to address responses to child sexual abuse including:
- the ongoing implementation of the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework
- further investment in the Australian Child Maltreatment Study
- the coming launch of the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in 2021
- new criminal offences, higher penalties and mandatory minimum sentences for the most serious and repeat offenders
- progress under the National Redress Scheme
- the work of the eSafety Commissioner to keep children and young people safe online.
Copies of the National Apology text are below:
- National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse text [PDF 210KB]
- National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse text [DOCX 166KB]
- National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual abuse HTML
Copies of the speeches given in the House of Representatives chamber and the Federation Chamber are below:
- Extract of Hansard – House of Representatives – 22 and 25 October 2018 [PDF 166KB]
- Extract of Hansard – House of Representatives – 22 and 25 October 2018 [DOCX 42KB]
Copies of the speeches given in the Senate Chamber are below:
- Extract of Hansard – Senate – 12 November 2018 [PDF 248KB]
- Extract of Hansard – Senate – 12 November 2018 [DOCX 69KB]
The National Apology was developed on the advice of an independent, survivor-focused Reference Group, and from consultations with communities throughout Australia from May to July 2018.
While not a specific recommendation of the Royal Commission, the National Apology is an important part of the government’s response to the Royal Commission.