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National Apology

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 to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. The Prime Minister’s speech honoured the strength and endurance of survivors, victims and those with lived experience of abuse. The speech 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.

Copies of the National Apology text are below:

Copies of the speeches given in the House of Representatives chamber and the Federation Chamber are below:

Copies of the speeches given in the Senate Chamber are below:

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.

Memorabilia from the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse can be requested from this website.

The Reference Group consisted of a broad range of survivors and their representatives from across Australia. The members of the Reference Group included:

A national consultation process was undertaken throughout May to July 2018 by the Reference Group to reach out to survivors, their families and support people

Images from the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse event held on 22 October 2018 at Parliament House, Canberra.