The Royal Commission recognises that the media has an important role to play in reporting on its work. Media coverage resulting from the Royal Commission’s activities improves community understanding of the issues being examined.
The Royal Commission will release as much information about its work as possible, subject to legal or operational issues.
The Royal Commission will hold public hearings, open to the media and the public, which will be live streamed on the Royal Commission’s website. Transcripts and exhibits relating to each public hearing will also be made available on the Royal Commission’s website.
The Royal Commission will not confirm the details of any ongoing investigations into individuals or institutions, except in exceptional circumstances. The Royal Commission will also not confirm the details of individuals who have attended a private session or made a report to the Royal Commission.
The Royal Commission has the power to refer matters to other authorities including state child protection departments and police. For legal reasons, the Royal Commission is unable to confirm the details of any matters that have been referred to other authorities.
Release of reports
The Royal Commission will deliver reports on its work to Governor-General and the Governors of each state. Once delivered, the Australian Government will decide if and when the report will be released publicly. To do this, the report must first be tabled in Parliament.
The Royal Commission is unable to provide advice on if or when a report might be tabled in Parliament. Once reports have been tabled in Parliament media will be notified and the Royal Commission will publish reports on its website.
Journalists and commentators should be aware that survivors of child sexual abuse are often traumatised by the abuse suffered and that the impact can be life-long. For some victims, telling their stories can be re-traumatising.
In addition, members of the public may also be adversely affected by media reports on the work of the Royal Commission.
For these reasons, the Royal Commission encourages sensitive, ethical reporting of the issues and requests that, wherever possible, the contact details of support services are included in media reports such as Lifeline.
Mindframe provide the following resources for reporting on issues of this nature:
Public hearings and private sessions
Public hearings are open to the public and will be streamed live on the Royal Commission’s website. Public hearing dates will be published in advance, posted on the website and media will be notified.
Private sessions are an opportunity for people who have experienced child sexual abuse in an Australian institution to tell their story to a Royal Commissioner. There are rules around the reporting of private sessions.
Practice Guideline 1 sets out the procedures the Royal Commission will follow in conducting private sessions and public and private hearings.