On the 10th May, 2018 the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) legislation was introduced to the Parliament for Australia. This legislation replaces the Commonwealth legislation previously introduced and this allow for States and territories that join the Scheme to participate under law. Continue reading
Western Australia is the latest state to introduce laws which will enhance the prospects of success for claimants’ bringing claims for damages arising out of non-recent sexual abuse. Following the lead of all other states, apart from South Australia, legislation has just been enacted that will abolish the 6 year limitation period. The recently concluded Royal Commission found that on average an individual waited 22 years to disclose their abusive experiences The changes being introduced also provide a legal basis for suing institutions in the name of their current office holders and include provisions designed to overcome difficulties survivors may face in identifying a correct defendant. Continue reading
The IICSA begins today a public hearing in connection with its investigation into child sexual abuse and the internet. This is a huge task and clearly differs from the majority of other investigations which are considering events which occurred many decades ago, something which is of much less relevance when focusing on the part played by the internet.
This first public hearing which is due to last five days, focuses on the part played by the police and the National Crime Agency in responding to abuse facilitated by the internet as well as considering the current scale of online facilitated child sexual abuse and how the police nationally and regionally respond to it.
The IICSA continues to progress with its investigations. Last week it published the public hearings timetable up until March 2019. A summary of the current status of all hearings in investigations is detailed below (the IICSA continues to update its hearings timetable page here as it schedules more dates).
|The Internet||Following the preliminary hearing on 19 September 2017, the first public hearings are scheduled to take place the week commencing 22 January 2018. Evidence in relation to paragraph 2.4 of the published scope of investigation will be heard: “the response of law enforcement agencies to child sexual abuse facilitated by the internet“.|
|Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale||Public hearings in relation to this case study were held from 9 – 27 October 2017. Evidence from survivors and institutions was heard. The IICSA endeavours to publish its report in relation to this investigation in the new year and before the interim inquiry report is to be published which is sometime in April 2018.|
|Anglican||Public hearings are scheduled to start on 5th March 2018 for 3 weeks. This will focus on abuse within the Diocese of Chichester. There will be a further week of public hearings from 23rd July 2018 which will focus on matters relating to the Peter Ball case study. There is a preliminary hearing on 30th January 2018|
|Westminster||A preliminary hearing in relation to this case study will take place on 31st January 2018. Public hearings will be held from the week commencing 4 March – 25 March 2019.|
|Roman Catholic Church||The hearing in connection with the Benedictine Orders (save for Ealing Abbey) commences on 27th November 2017 and is due to last for 2 weeks
Public hearings will be held the week commencing 12 November 2018 into the Archdiocese of Birmingham case study.
Public hearings will be held the week commencing 4 February 2019 into the Ealing Abbey case study.
|Nottinghamshire||3 weeks of hearings are scheduled from 1st October 2018. A preliminary hearing will take place on 31st January 2018.|
|Children Overseas||IICSA’s report into the Child Migration Programmes Case Study is expected sometime before or early in the new year.
Public hearings regarding Children Outside the UK will be held the week commencing 11 February 2019.
|Accountability & Reparation||Public hearings are scheduled from 26 November – 10 December 2018.|
|Children in Custody||A preliminary hearing will proceed on 1st February 2018 with 2 weeks of public hearings from 9 July 2018.|
|Lord Janner||There have been no formal developments.|
|Lambeth||There have been no formal developments.|
|Residential Schools||There have been no formal developments.|
|Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks||There have been no formal developments.|
Written by Miriam Rahamim, solicitor at BLM.
In the past six months the Royal Commission has continued its work as it nears its end date and final report (due in December). As ever many of the recommendations it makes are not specific to Australia but are of wider application and remit and worthy of consideration for good safeguarding practice and procedure elsewhere in the world including recommendations for reform to criminal justice, reporting abuse disclosed during the seal of the confessional and the misconceptions about memory which impact upon the responses to disclosure.