Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established in January 2013 to inquire into “institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse and related matters”.
The Royal Commission examined the nature and adequacy of institutional responses and identified common failings.
The key findings relating to arts, cultural, sport, community and other hobby groups were:
- sexual abuse can occur in a range of settings and have different enablers
- adults are sometimes valued over children’s wellbeing
- perpetrators exploited their positions of power and authority
- erosion of personal boundaries – there was continuous disregard and invasion into personal space.
The impacts of child sexual abuse can be devastating. Common impacts include disengagement from the activity, isolation from social groups, long-term mental health problems, difficulties with interpersonal relationships, and social and wellbeing implications for families.
The Royal Commission acknowledged past failings and provided 409 recommendations to prevent abuse from occurring in the future.
Western Australian Government response
The findings of the Royal Commission are extensive and require careful and thorough consideration as to how to implement recommended reforms.
Reform will be a long-term commitment. Given the large scale and scope of the Royal Commission’s recommendations, some reforms will be implemented early, with others needing more time.
The State Government has responded to the Royal Commission’s recommendations and is determined to use resources efficiently and effectively and to prioritise reform work. The focus will be on using existing resources to achieve the greatest benefits for victims of child sexual abuse, and to protect children now and in the future.
A coordinated effort is required across local, State and Commonwealth governments, with a commitment from the non-government sector and community groups to:
- keep children safe
- improve institutional responses
- strengthen criminal justice responses
- provide compensation to victims of child sexual abuse.