December 15, 2017

Labor welcomes the release today of the Final Report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Royal Commission has given thousands of Australians affected by these evil crimes an opportunity to finally be heard.

It has changed Australia for the better.

We must never again allow children to be abused.

We must never again allow the abuse of children to be covered up.

The Royal Commission, established by the Gillard Labor Government in 2012 sought to “shine a light” on past abuses and acknowledge the suffering endured by survivors. It has done that.

The Royal Commission has held over 8,000 private sessions, handled 41,000 calls, made more than 2,500 referrals to the authorities, and so far 230 prosecutions have commenced.

Labor praises the work of Justice Peter McClellan and the other commissioners.

Above all we acknowledge the courageous survivors who came forward to give evidence at the Royal Commission.

Many survivors shared harrowing stories of trauma and personal tragedy.

We pay tribute to them, their families and advocates who fought so hard for so long for a Royal Commission.

For years many survivors were not believed.

On top of the abuse this denial of the truth led to even greater pain and suffering.

When Prime Minister Julia Gillard established the Royal Commission she spoke of her hope that it would bring about the systemic change that people have been wanting for such a long time.

The Royal Commission has made clear that the sexual abuse of children is not just a problem from the past.

Tragically, child sexual abuse in institutions continues to this day.

It is unacceptable.

There must be changes in the culture, structure and governance practices of many institutions.

Our task now is to bring about change so that every Australian child can enjoy a safe childhood, free from abuse. 

The recommendations from the Royal Commission cannot be ignored.

The Turnbull Government must not drag its feet in responding like it has in establishing a national redress scheme.

Survivors now need justice, and they need redress.

The Commonwealth must work with the states and institutions to complete the national redress scheme. 


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