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Progress in responding to child sexual abuse

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Mitre Lecture Theatre

University of Chichester

Bishop Otter Campus

Chichester

PO19 6PE

United Kingdom

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Progress in responding to child sexual abuse: Reforms to law, policy and practice after Australia’s Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses Into Child Sexual Abuse

The Australian Government Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse delivered its final report in December 2017. This federal government inquiry was instituted due to multiple revelations of endemic child sexual abuse, especially in religious institutions, and cover-ups of this abuse. It had unprecedented scope, being conducted over five years, by six Commissioners, supported by funding of nearly $400 million. This presentation describes the nature of the Royal Commission and its activities. It summarises its major recommendations, and focuses on five major areas of progress and reform since its conclusion.

First, it explains the nature and operation of Australia’s National Redress Scheme. This is a $4 billion program designed to secure prompt and non-adversarial access to awards of financial redress and apologies for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse from responsible institutions. Second, it explains legislative reforms to civil statutes of limitation, which have removed traditionally short time limits in which a civil claim had to be commenced, and instead allow those who have experienced child sexual abuse to bring a claim at any time after the event. In some instances, these reforms even allow the recommencement of a claim that had previously been settled. Third, it explains legislative reforms to duties to report known and suspected child sexual abuse. These take multiple forms in civil and criminal law, and are a mechanism to promote the appropriate reporting of cases of child sexual abuse, and to reduce the conscious cover-ups of abuse that have been so common in the past. Fourth, it explains reforms to the regulation of child and youth-serving organisations. These reforms aim to implement Child Safe Standards in these organisations, requiring the implementation of strategies and policies to reduce the likelihood of child sexual abuse, and to ensure appropriate responses if it does occur. Fifth, it explains the imperative to conduct a national study to generate benchmark data on the prevalence of child sexual abuse, and the repetition of such a study, to enable the charting of trends in prevalence over time.


This lecture takes place in the Mitre Lecture Theatre at the University of Chichester's Bishop Otter Campus in Chichester. It starts at 12.30pm with refreshments available from 12 noon.

There is a pay and display car park on the University Campus.



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Mitre Lecture Theatre

University of Chichester

Bishop Otter Campus

Chichester

PO19 6PE

United Kingdom

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