Survivors of institutional child sexual abuse are reminded that they must register with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by Friday 30 September 2016 if they wish to have a private session.
Private sessions give survivors of child sexual abuse in an institution the ability to share their story directly with a Commissioner in a private setting.
The Royal Commission has now held almost 6,000 private sessions and it expects to have held more than 7000 private sessions by the time it completes its work at the end of next year.
In April this year, the Royal Commission announced it would close registrations for private sessions on 30 September due to the strong demand from survivors to share their story, which resulted in a queue of people waiting to meet with a Commissioner.
The Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission, said that unless applications were closed off well before the final report was completed, many people seeking a private session would be disappointed.
He said that it would be ‘intolerable for a survivor to be accepted for a private session only to find we could not meet with them.’
Royal Commission Acting CEO Marianne Christmann said the 30 September deadline applies only to new applicants for a private session.
“Survivors who have already been accepted for a private session or who have applied before 30 September will not be affected by this deadline,” she said.
“And the Royal Commission will still accept written accounts after 30 September.”
Ms Christmann said many survivors have told the Royal Commission that sharing their story has helped their healing process, and that survivors have come from a wide range of backgrounds.
“The eldest attendee was 93 and the youngest was seven,” she said.
She said private sessions have formed a crucial part of the Commission’s understanding of the impacts of child sexual abuse.
“Stories from survivors will directly inform the Royal Commission’s recommendations to improve laws, policies and practices to better protect Australian children.”
To register for a private session phone 1800 099 340 or email contact [at] childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.