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The Royal Commission INtO INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSES TO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: the Royal Commission will close registrations for private sessions on 30 September 2016. For more information about how to register for a private session before September 30, please read on or visit the Royal Commission website.

The Royal Commission is an Inquiry into the way that institutions have responded to situations of child sexual assault and related matters. It investigates where systems have failed to protect children and will make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to better protect Australian children in the future.

The Royal Commission will hear the stories of people who have experienced sexual assault as children in an institution or connected to an institution. You are also able to tell stories about situations that you witnessed or knew about, but were not assaults against you. Note: The Commission will be closing off registrations for all private hearing after on 30th September 2016.

The ‘Terms of Reference’ set the boundaries for which stories the Royal Commission will examine.

To meet the terms of reference the story must:

  • Involve the sexual assault of a child (under 18 years old when it happened);
  • Be a ‘related matter’ to the child sexual assault of a child (for example, grooming of children or allegations that were not followed up); and,
  • Involve an institution.

If you are unsure whether your story fits with the Terms Of Reference, you can email Bravehearts in confidence here or you can talk to us in confidence by calling 1800 272 831 (8:30am – 4:30pm AEST weekdays).

You can meet with us for a face-to-face discussion about the Royal Commission if you are based in Queensland or Sydney, NSW.

If you require special assistance to attend an appointment such as wheelchair access or interpreter service, please email or call 1800 272 831.

The Bravehearts Case Management Team can provide you with specialist assistance and support in navigating the Royal Commission process. Should you have a preference for either a male or female case manager, we would be glad to cater for your needs.

Our case management staff are a multi-disciplinary team with varied backgrounds in the areas of social work, law, child safety, psychology and criminology. This ensures our clients will gain the benefit of staff with an insight into the operations of various institutions. With practical experience in the areas of:

  • social work
  • family law
  • criminal law
  • child safety

How Bravehearts Can Help

This diagram shows the three stages of participating in the Royal Commission:

Bravehearts-Factsheet_Stages-of-Participation-in-the-Royal-Commission

Bravehearts Can:

  • Provide you with information and advice about participation in the Royal Commission;
  • Be the contact person for you to assist you with your interaction with the Royal Commission staff;
  • Help you write your Written Statement – either via telephone or we can meet with you in person;
  • Attend a Private Session with you, as your support person;
  • Help you in relation to the Public Hearings;
  • Provide counselling and ongoing case management for clients;
  • Provide referrals to appropriate support services; and,
  • Answer any questions that you have.

Fact Sheets and Information brochures are available for download below:

How Bravehearts can help you with the Royal Commission

Giving the Royal Commission a Written Statement

Going to a Private Session of the Royal Commission

Download our brochure

The Royal Commission was announced in November 2012, after 16 years of lobbying by Bravehearts.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Should I participate in the Royal Commission?

People are often hesitant to get involved because they think:

  • My sexual assault happened too long ago; or
  • There are other stories ‘worse’ than mine; or
  • I have already provided a statement to another inquiry; or
  • It will be too traumatic for me to tell my story, I am worried about getting too emotional and how I will react; or
  • The Royal Commission might not understand me or believe me.

It is important for the Royal Commission to hear all stories from all individuals affected.  You will be listened to and believed.

Bravehearts can chat with you and help you decide whether you’d like to be involved.

I am unsure where my matter is at with the Royal Commission – What is happening?

We can call the Royal Commission for you and check where your matter is up to.

Do I need to write a Written Statement?

You don’t have to provide a Written Statement; however, many of our clients find it useful where attending a Private Session so the Commissioners have some background prior to the meeting.

It is common that people often don’t want to write their story down because it is a very difficult process or because they already have other written documents sharing their story, like police witness statements.  Bravehearts can assist you with this process and help draft a summary for your reference and to provide to the Royal Commission.

I have an appointment to attend a ‘Private Session’ with the Commission – What does this mean? What will happen?

We can talk you through what will happen at a Private Session, and can come with you to this meeting as your support person if you would like us to.

Our case management team can provide this service in Queensland.

If your Private Session is due to be held in another state outside of these or a more remote location please contact us and we will confirm if we are able to travel to the relevant location to attend.

How do I give evidence at a Public Hearing about my experiences?

Bravehearts can help you prepare an ‘expression of interest’ that will ensure the Royal Commission knows that you would like to participate in a Public Hearing. It is important to note that not everyone who wants to give evidence at a Public Hearing will be able to do so.

 

The Royal Commission has asked me to give evidence at a Public Hearing – What does this mean? What do I need to do?

We can talk you through this process, and attend the Public Hearing with you. We can organise a lawyer for you, if you need one.

I’ve been to a Private Session with the Royal Commission – What happens next?

To find out what happens next you can either talk to us on 1800 272 831 (8:30am-4:30pm AEST) or email us at intake@bravehearts.org.au