Royal Commission launches advertising campaign to close registrations for private sessions

8 July 2016

The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse has launched a nationwide advertising campaign to announce registrations for private sessions will close on 30 September 2016.

The campaign will consist of radio, print and digital advertising and will begin on Sunday and run until mid-September.

Private sessions allow survivors of child sexual abuse in an institution to meet with a Commissioner and tell their story in a private setting.

Royal Commission Chief Executive Officer, Philip Reed, said it was important for those who may be interested in attending a private session to register before the deadline, to avoid missing out.

“The Commission is committed to ensuring that anyone wanting a private session will have the opportunity to attend one before the Royal Commission ends in December 2017. For this reason, we must close registrations well in advance of that date.”

The demand for private sessions has been strong since the first one was held in May 2013 at Parramatta. In April the Royal Commission completed its 5000th private session and there are more than 1,500 people currently waiting to meet with a Commissioner.

Private sessions are unique to this Royal Commission. The Royal Commissions Act 1902 was amended to enable Commissioners to be able to hear from survivors in private and ‘bear witness’ to their stories of abuse.

The Hon. Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission, said those stories have formed a crucial part in the Commission’s understanding of survivors’ experiences.

“The Commissioners recognise that for individuals who have been traumatised by sexual abuse, giving an account of their experiences and telling their story to a Commissioner is, for many survivors, an important part of their journey.

“Equally important is the information which survivors have provided,” Justice McClellan said. “This information has been critical in informing our investigations and will provide a secure foundation for many of our final recommendations.

The closing date applies only to new applicants for a private session. Those who have already been accepted for a private session or who apply before September 30 will have an opportunity to meet with a Commissioner. The Royal Commission will still accept written accounts after September 30.

Private sessions are held in all capital cities and have been held in regional areas including Cairns, Coolangatta, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton, Townsville, Woorabinda, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Ballina, Penrith, Bathurst, Launceston, Kimberley, Bunbury, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Warrnambool.

More than 290 private sessions have also been held for inmates in 31 correctional centres in NSW, ACT, VIC and QLD.

View announcement on the closure of private session registrations.

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