Further to yesterday’s blog, detailed below is further consideration of the recent work of the Australian Royal Commission but which is of relevance and interest to organisations considering the protection of children now and in the future, as well as in the past, in jurisdictions other than Australia.
Research and policies
Those recently published and which are of relevance not just to Australia are:
- Key elements of a child-safe organisation
- Family relationships and the disclosure of institutional child sexual abuse
- An evaluation of how evidence is elicited from complainants of child sexual abuse
- The impact of delayed reporting on the prosecution and outcomes of child sexual abuse cases
- Our safety counts: children and young people’s perceptions of safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns
- Evidence and frameworks for understanding perpetrators of institutional child sexual abuse
- Risk Profiles for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: A literature review
- A discussion paper on trauma-informed approaches to child sexual abuse
- Records and recordkeeping practices – the background to the consultation which highlights some of the challenges is a useful document for organisations thinking about what they need to keep. The consultation 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
- Criminal Justice issues – this seeks to identify areas where reform may be necessary to ensure justice is better served in child sexual abuse cases
- Best practice principles in responding to complaints of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts – the Royal Commission is striving to ensure that all complaints of institutional child sexual abuse are dealt with in an appropriate, timely and responsible manner, no matter the scenario or institution.
Good communication is vital to gain trust in the work of an inquiry, and that involves representatives of an inquiry speaking publically to as broad a cross section of people and organisations as possible. The Chair of the Royal Commission has been doing that with recent addresses including to the Association of Child Welfare Agencies and the Judicial College of Victoria. In his speech to the former he noted: “Public hearings have a significant role in driving institutional and regulatory change. Many institutions who have not themselves been the subject of a public hearing have already responded to the problems revealed in similar institutions and have implemented change or reviews intended to improve the safety of children in their care.” As there is focus on the cost and delay and breadth of proposed public hearings of the IICSA this is a benefit which should not be overlooked.
The Royal Commission has also published nine audio stories voiced by actors and based on the private sessions at which victims and survivors have been able to tell of the abuse they suffered and the impact of the same. These stories are very effective in making clear the impact of abuse and can be useful as a learning tool for organisations seeking to ensure that they have the protection of children at their core.
The work of the Royal Commission shows that with the right leadership, public support and adequate resources it is clearly possible to run an inquiry. It is to be hoped for all involved that the IICSA is now positioned to be able to do that.
Paula Jefferson, Partner