The Letters Patent provided to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse require that it 'inquire into institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse and related matters'.
Under paragraph (d) of the Terms of Reference we are given in the Letters Patent, we are required to inquire into:
what institutions and governments should do to address, or alleviate the impact of, past and future child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts, including, in particular, in ensuring justice for victims through the provision of redress by institutions, processes for referral for investigation and prosecution and support services.
From an early stage, the Commissioners agreed to endeavour to make recommendations on redress and civil litigation by the middle of 2015.
The Royal Commission has now formed concluded views on the appropriate recommendations on redress and civil litigation to ensure justice for survivors.
By reporting as early as possible on these issues, we are seeking to give survivors and institutions more certainty on these issues and enable governments and institutions to implement our recommendations to improve civil justice for survivors as soon as possible.
Our concluded views have been informed by the significant input we have obtained on redress and civil litigation from a broad range of sources, including private sessions, public hearings, issues papers, private roundtables, expert consultations and information obtained under summons.
On 30 January 2015, the Royal Commission published the Consultation paper: Redress and civil litigation (the Consultation Paper). We received a wide range of submissions in response to the Consultation Paper. From 25 to 27 March 2015, all six Commissioners sat for the public hearing on redress and civil litigation. At that hearing, invited organisations and individuals spoke to their written submissions to the Consultation Paper and responded to questions asked by Commissioners and Counsel Assisting.
Responses to the Consultation Paper and the public hearing have helped to inform our final recommendations on redress and civil litigation, which are contained in this report.
In Chapter 2, we discuss a number of issues that are significant for our approach to redress and civil litigation.
Why redress is needed
Our case studies and private sessions to date leave us in no doubt that many people, while children, were injured by being subjected to child sexual abuse in institutions or in connection with institutions. In some cases, their injuries are severe and long lasting. People can be affected by these injuries for the rest of their lives.
All Australian governments recognised this need by establishing this Royal Commission and giving us Terms of Reference that require and authorise us to inquire into matters including what institutions and governments should do to address or alleviate the impact of institutional child sexual abuse, including in particular in ensuring justice for victims through the provision of redress by institutions.