Case Study 38: Criminal justice issues

The Royal Commission held a public hearing in Sydney from Tuesday 15 to Thursday 24 March 2016.

The public hearing inquired into criminal justice issues relating to child sexual abuse in an institutional context.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing was to inquire into:

  1. The experiences of survivors of child sexual abuse in an institutional context in the criminal justice system as complainants against an accused who was the subject of allegations by more than one complainant.
  2. The admissibility and use of evidence variously described as:
    1. tendency and coincidence evidence;
    2. propensity and similar fact evidence;
    3. evidence of discreditable conduct; and
    4. evidence of bad character, and the law and practice concerning when charges in relation to multiple complainants of child sexual  abuse in an institutional context against a single accused may be tried together in a joint trial.
  3. The experiences of survivors, particularly young children and people with disability, in reporting child sexual abuse in an institutional context to police and in being complainants in prosecutions.
  4. How the requirements of the criminal justice system, including in relation to oral evidence and cross examination, affect the investigation and prosecution of allegations of child sexual abuse in an institutional context, particularly where the complainant is a young child or a person with disability.
  5. Any other related matters.

Opinion of Counsel Assisting in relation to week one of the hearing

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