On the 19 June the Australian Parliament passed legislation to establish the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, ensuring the scheme can begin on 1 July 2018. Continue reading
In the week that saw Dr Larry Nassar, the Michigan State University and Olympic sports doctor sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing female gymnasts in the USA, it is timely to reflect on Volume 14 of the report of the Royal Commission (RC) which focuses on sports and recreational institutions.
The RC identified that there is a real challenge in ensuring child safety in sports and recreational institutions and this is due to the diverse nature of the sector – ranging from affiliated, grant maintained and well-funded, co-ordinated, well-regulated and managed institutions with compliance obligations to small informal not for profit voluntary and community groups and activities where there is a patent lack of policy, procedure, regulation and information.
Volume 16 of the Royal Commission’s (RC) final report focuses on religious organisations. It runs to 3 books, longer than any other volume in the report, and contains 58 recommendations. 7382 survivors (48.8% of those who contacted the RC) reported abuse, in 1691 religious institutions. This was more than in connection with any other type of organisation. There were 30 case studies which, amongst other issues, revealed that many religious leaders knew about allegations of abuse but failed to take any action. The failures of religious organisations are considered to be particularly troubling as a result of the significant part religion has played in the lives of many children. Many survivors reported that as a result of the abuse they had suffered a loss of faith as well as a loss of trust.
Identifying child sexual abuse especially in an institutional setting is the first and often most important step in protecting children and preventing its re-occurrence.
It is not sufficient just to educate children to recognise behaviours that constitute sexual abuse, and instruct them to tell someone if they are abused. Instead, adults also need to be attuned to signs of harm in children and equipped to identify signs of possible sexual abuse. Adults and the wider community need to better understand the dynamics of sexual abuse and how to recognise grooming tactics, and to notice emotional and behavioural changes in children.
Volume 3 of the final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the RC) considers and explains the impacts of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts on survivors and often on their family members, friends, and entire communities.
The impacts of child sexual abuse are different for each survivor, for many it can have deep rooted and lasting impacts while others do not feel that they have been profoundly harmed by the experience.
Continuing our series of blogs commenting upon the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the RC) this blog considers by reference to numbers and statistics the information obtained about survivors and perpetrators.
At the time of issuing its final report the Royal Commission (RC) had spoken with more than 8,000 survivors in private sessions and received more than 1,000 written accounts.
In compiling its final report, it analysed the experiences of the 6,875 survivors as told to them in private sessions up until 31 May 2017.
The Royal Commission’s (RC) final report includes a volume specifically dealing with institutional responses to child sexual abuse in contemporary (post 1990) out-of-home care.
The out-of-home system in Australia is similar to the UK in that when a child is considered to be unsafe living with their family or in an informal care arrangement, they are placed with alternative carers on a short or long term basis. These placements usually occur after there has been some statutory intervention.