FAQ & Facts
What is a Royal Commission?
A Royal Commission is an official way of looking into a big problem to work out what went wrong.
What will this Royal Commission look into?
The Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses To Child Sexual Abuse will look at how institutions responded to reports of sexual abuse that happened to children in their care. They are doing this to work out what can be done to better protect children in the future and how to give better support to survivors and their families.
How will the Royal Commission do this?
The Royal Commission will hear stories form victims of child sexual abuse in an institution. People can tell their story in writing, over the phone or face to face.
How can I tell my story to the Royal Commission?
- In writing: The Royal Commission has developed a series of (50) questions to use to guide writing your story.
- Recording: The Royal Commission can record your story digitally if you prefer to have your voice heard but do not want to speak directly to the Commissioners.
- Face to face: You can tell your story directly to a Royal Commission officer or the Commissioners. You will be given about 1 hour in time. You can do this on your own or in a group. You can have a support person with you, including a legal officer.
- Use previous transcript: If you have told your story to a previous Inquiry like the Bringing Them Home or Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry you can provide the Royal Commission with a copy of the relevant documents so you don’t have to tell it again.
If I tell my story, will I get compensation for the abuse I suffered?
The Royal Commission cannot decide about compensation for you. It is not within its power to decide if and who should provide you with compensation. The Royal Commission may make some general recommendations about compensation but this will not relate to specific cases and the government may not act on the recommendations. If you want to more information about compensation, you can call Connecting Home, a service for the Stolen Generations who are developing an information pack about this.
How do I let the Royal Commission know I want to tell my story?
If you want to tell your story to the Royal Commission, first you need to register your interest by either:
- Telephoning 1800 099 340;
- Writing to GPO Box 5283, Sydney NSW 2001; or
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
What information will I be asked for when I contact the Royal Commission?
You will be asked to provide your:
- ·Contact number
- ·Date of birth
And if you are:
- ·ringing tell the Commission about sexual abuse you experienced as a child.
- ·in immediate danger
- ·in need of urgent counselling support (which they can refer you to).
- ·Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent
You will also be asked to about:
- ·Institution where the abuse occurred
- ·Year/s the abuse occurred
- ·Was the abuse reported?
- ·Who was it reported to?
- ·Year it was reported
- ·Have you told your story to a previous Inquiry – if so can we assess the evidence and accounts.
- ·Why do you want to tell your story?
a) To assist in my personal healing
b) To gain personal support
c) To assist in having it reported to police
d) To ensure children in the future are not abused
e) Or if you have reasons of your own not listed here
What happens after I register?
A Royal Commission Officer will call you to clarify the information you have already given, get some more information about what happened, when it happened and how you would like to tell your story. The areas the Royal Commission Officer will cover in their phone call to you will include:
Victim details (if different from caller)
How would you like to be heard
Can I still tell my story if I am in prison?
Yes. Assistance will be provided to write or record your story. If you want to tell your story face to face, this will take place either in person or by video conferencing. Legal advice is available and it is recommended that you speak to someone from VALS or IFVPLS before deciding to talk to the Royal Commission.
I am a family member of someone who has passed away but was abused in an institution. Can I tell their story on their behalf?
Yes. The Royal Commission will hear from family members or descendants of people who were abused but are not alive or able to tell their story.
I was sexually abused in care and that experience contributed to me becoming a perpetrator. Will I incriminate myself if I tell the Royal Commission?
No. Statements or disclosures made or documents handed over by you in a private session cannot be used in evidence against you in civil or criminal proceedings and cannot be given to anyone else (including a law enforcement agency) unless the Chair of the Royal Commission believes it is necessary to prevent harm to any person. This protection is also available to any support persons the Commissioner agrees can attend a private session with you and who make a statement or provide a document to a private session.
What should I do now?
If you believe you have enough information to register with the Royal Commission you can call them directly on 1800 099 340.
How do I find out more information?
If you would like to find out more, visit the Royal Commission website at www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au
Who can I talk to about my options?
If you would like to talk through the options with someone, please call one of the agencies below, and a staff member will assist you: