Royal Commission to hold private sessions in the Northern Territory

Royal Commission to hold private sessions in the Northern Territory

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is heading to the Northern Territory.

The Royal Commission will be holding private sessions in Darwin from October 15. Royal Commission CEO Janette Dines said that the Royal Commission hopes that people in the Northern Territory take the opportunity to come forward.

“This is a chance for any Territorian affected by child sexual abuse in an institution to tell a Royal Commissioner what happened to them,” said Ms Dines.

Ms Dines acknowledged it was difficult for some people to talk about what happened to them. “For that reason, the Commission provides counsellors who can provide immediate support should it be necessary. As well, we encourage people to bring a friend or family member along for support.”

“Private sessions are informal. No-one from an institution will ever be present and what is said is kept in complete confidence. It is not like a court where individuals give evidence and are cross examined.

“The private sessions are contributing significantly to the Commissioners’ understanding of the nature and extent of the sexual abuse of children within institutions in Australia,” added Ms Dines.

Ms Dines said that people speak out for different reasons. “Some are telling their story for the first time and just want somebody to know what happened to them and the impact the abuse has had on their lives. Many people say that they want to help the Royal Commission make institutions safer for children in future.”

The Royal Commission will return to other parts of the Northern Territory for further private sessions in the future. Assistance with travel costs is available. Anyone wishing to tell their story to the Royal Commission can find out more by telephoning 1800 099 340.

Media enquiries: (02) 8282 3966 or media@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.