On 11 January 2013, the Prime Minister, announced the appointment of a six-member Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the release of the Terms of Reference that will guide the inquiry.
The Royal Commission is inquiring into how allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse and related matters that occurred in an institutional context have been managed and responded to. It will investigate how institutions and governments can better protect children, how they can achieve best practice in reporting and responding to incidents and how to address the impact of child sexual abuse.
More information is available from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse website, including about its terms of reference, how to provide information to the Royal Commission and the support services available to the victims of child sexual abuse.
On 14 July 2013 the Australian Government announced the 28 organisations that will provide community-based support services to people who participate in the Royal Commission.
These organisations will deliver services such as counselling, support and case management to individuals and their family members before, during and after their interaction with the Royal Commission. The services will complement existing supports provided by the Royal Commission and the Attorney-General’s Department.
The competitive selection process did not identify suitable applicants to deliver specialist services to people living with disability, Indigenous Australians and people who have suffered abuse from religious organisations or clergy.
The Department is currently working to identify suitable organisations to deliver these specialist support services and provide assistance for people with a disability, Indigenous Australians and people who have experienced religious or clergy abuse as they participate in the Royal Commission process.
If you have any questions about the Royal Commission community-based support services, please contact DSS for assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial assistance for witnesses
Legal financial assistance
The Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department is administering legal financial assistance for the Royal Commission.
Legal financial assistance is a grant to cover the reasonable costs of legal representation and disbursements relating to the provision of evidence to the Royal Commission.
You are eligible to apply for legal financial assistance if you:
- receive a letter from the Royal Commission requesting that you attend an interview, or
- are called, or given leave to appear, as a witness at a public or private hearing.
Organisations are not eligible to apply.
More information on accessing legal financial assistance can be found at: the Attorney-General's Department website or by calling 02 6141 4770.
Payment of witness expenses
If you are a witness who has been called to give evidence at a hearing of the Royal Commission, you can apply for payments to cover your expenses to attend the hearing. Funding for witness expenses is provided by the Royal Commission.
Expenses covered include a daily appearance fee and may also include payments for travel, accommodation and lost income (note that this does not include private sessions).
You can get further information about funding for witness expenses by contacting the Witness Support team at the Royal Commission by emailing email@example.com or calling 1300 229 776.
Independent legal advice service
The Australian Government has funded the establishment of an independent legal service called 'knowmore'. It provides legal advice to help people understand the legal issues relevant to them, so they can be in the best position to decide whether, and how, they wish to contact or provide information to the Royal Commission.
knowmore is a free service that provides:
- legal advice and assistance
- legal information and referral to related services where necessary
- assistance with preparing written statements and submissions.
knowmore's staff includes lawyers, counsellors/social workers, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural liaison officers.
knowmore's national free advice line is 1800 605 762.
More information about their services can be found on the knowmore website.
The following links / documents provide further information about the Royal Commission and how it will work and how organisations were able to apply for Royal Commission support services funding:
Additional Resources and Information
- Explaining the Letters Patent and Terms of Reference
- Royal Commissions
- An Easy Read Guide to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Frequently asked questions
- Family Support Program - Royal Commission community-based support services Selection Guidelines PDF [558KB]
- Family Support Program - Royal Commission community-based support services Selection Guidelines DOCX [96KB]
- Media Release 14 July 2013: More support services for survivors of child sexual abuse
- Media Release 13 April 2013: More support for survivors of child sexual abuse
- Media release 13 February 2013: Royal Commission into Royal institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse
- Media release 11 January 2013: Government formally establishes Royal Commission
- Media release 29 November 2012: 720 Public Consultation Contributions Received
- Media release 19 November 2012: Release of Consultation Paper on the Royal Commission into Child Abuse