The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a consultation paper that addresses records and recordkeeping practices in relation to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts.
The consultation paper, Records and recordkeeping practices, examines the records and recordkeeping practices of both older and contemporary institutions, identifying key areas of concern.
Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said that the management of accurate records by institutions that care for children is critical to identifying, preventing and responding to child sexual abuse.
“Through private sessions and case studies, we have heard from survivors about the difficulties faced when trying to access their own records, including records regarding experiences of child sexual abuse,” he said.
“Many survivors have spoken to us about the absence of records or lack of detail in records created about them.
"We know that the lack of proper institutional record management can be extremely distressing and traumatic for survivors of child sexual abuse,” Mr Reed said.
The Royal Commission’s consultation paper proposes five key principles to assist institutions to implement and maintain comprehensive record management.
These principles are intended to promote child safety, institutional accountability and just outcomes for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.
Good recordkeeping practices and accurate records can contribute to better outcomes in complaints handling, redress and criminal proceedings.
All interested parties are invited to make written submissions responding to the consultation paper and the five key principles listed below:
Creating and keeping accurate records is in the best interest of children.
Accurate records must be created about all decisions and incidents affecting child protection.
Records relevant to child sexual abuse must be appropriately maintained.
Records relevant to child sexual abuse must only be disposed of subject to law or policy.
Individuals’ rights to access and amend records about them can only be restricted in accordance with law.
Submissions are also sought on options for enforcement of the five principles and the need for a records advocacy service.
Written submissions should be made by Monday, 3 October 2016:
- Email response [at] childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au
- Mail to GPO Box 5283, Sydney, NSW 2001.
Read the consultation paper.
Media enquiries: (02) 8282 3966 or media [at] childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au