On Friday 11 January 2013, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, appointed a six-member Royal Commission to investigate Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Royal Commission will inquire into how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.
It will investigate where systems have failed to protect children, and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions.
The Commissioners can look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children, including government agencies, schools, sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, and religious organisations.
This includes where they consider an organisation caring for a child is responsible for the abuse or for not responding appropriately, regardless of where or when the abuse took place.
The Hon. Justice Peter McClellan AM has been appointed Chair of the Commission. Justice McClellan, has held since 2005, one of the most senior judicial positions in the New South Wales judiciary as the Chief Judge at Common Law of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
The other five Commissioners are Mr Bob Atkinson AO APM, the former Queensland Police Commissioner, Justice Jennifer Coate, Family Court Judge and former Victorian Coroner and, Mr Robert Fitzgerald AM, Productivity Commissioner, Professor Helen Milroy, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and former Senator for Western Australia, Mr Andrew Murray.
The Commissioners have been appointed for three years and will begin their inquiry as soon as possible. The Commission will prepare an interim report by no later than 30 June 2014.
In the interim report, the Commissioners will also identify when their final report will be completed. The final reporting date has been set initially at the end of 2015, but this will be subject to advice from Commissioners in their interim report.