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Contact Stephanie Gotlib
Chief Executive Officer
03 9417 1025
stephaniegotlib@cyda.org.au

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Providing information to the Royal Commission

How you can provide information to the Royal Commission
How to proceed if you want to give information to the Royal Commission
What happens to your testimony to the Royal Commission

How you can provide information to the Royal Commission

You can choose to provide information or share your story in the following ways:

  • Private Sessions: registrations for private sessions has now closed, as of 30 September 2016. Due to the high demand, registrations for private sessions were closed to ensure that everyone who registered can attend a private session before the Royal Commission ends, in December 2017.
  • Written accounts: you can share your story in writing (such as a letter or email), setting out your experience to the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission support staff can help you prepare your statement, or you can get funded support from a support service. Please send written accounts to the Royal Commission by 15 November 2017, to ensure the account is included in the Commission’s official records.
  • If you are unable to, or don’t want to, share your story in writing, contact the Royal Commission to discuss other ways you can share your story.

The Royal Commission is interested in hearing what happened to you, approximate period of abuse and name of institution, the impact that this experience has had on you, whether you ever had the opportunity to tell anyone (the institution, the police, social workers, parents) and if you did, what happened. Also what you think should be done to help improve the safety of children accessing institutions today.

It is important to know if you provide information to the Royal Commission:

  • You can provide as much or as little detail as you are comfortable with.
  • You do not have to have proof or paperwork to demonstrate what happened to you. The Royal Commission will believe you.
  • You do not have to speak explicitly about the abuse.
  • Child sexual abuse that occurs in institutions is relevant to the work of this inquiry whether it happened a long time ago OR very recently. Every experience is equally important.
  • Institutions are defined very broadly – and include schools, special schools, sports clubs, respite services, hospitals, scouts and guides.
  • The Commission is interested in the institutional response to any child sexual abuse that happened when children were in the care of that institution, including, for example, employees of the institution, other children or volunteers.
  • Any account of child sexual abuse is important to the Commission. Some people have been hesitant to report their experience because they feel the sexual abuse has not been as serious as others’.
  • The experience of child sexual abuse does not have to have happened to you. You can provide information to the Commission relating to a family member, your child, a fellow student or a friend.
  • The Royal Commission can link you with support services to assist you to make a statement in the way you want to.
  • Your submission can be anonymous if you wish.

If you are not sure whether your information or experience is relevant to the work of the Royal Commission, the Royal Commission encourages you to call and discuss this directly with them.

The Commissioners are aware that telling your story may be difficult and might make you feel like the trauma is happening all over again. This is why there is support provided for people who want to tell their story.

How to proceed if you want to give information to the Royal Commission

 
If your story is within the Royal Commission’s terms of reference, you can provide a written accounts to the Royal Commission by sending a letter or an email telling your story.

The Commission has created an information booklet to help answer questions about sharing your story, and guide you in providing a written account. A text file of the information booklet, as well as further information about sharing your story, is available here

What if I’ve already registered for a private session?
If you have already registered for a private session you will still be able to share your story with one of the commissioners. Although no new registrations for private sessions are being accepted, private sessions will continue until everyone that has already registered meets with a Commissioner.

Due to demand, the wait time for a private session is approximately 12 months from your assessment call. If you have a health difficulty or another reason that will make it difficult to wait this period, let the Royal Commission known and they may be able to see you sooner.

If you are unsure whether you are registered for a private session, call the Royal Commission on 1800 099 340. You can find out more about the registration closure on the Royal Commissions FAQs page.

What support is available
Anyone affected by the Royal Commission can receive counselling support through a Royal Commission support service.
 
Support services are available to assist you, including communication support workers, interpreters and counsellors. Further detail on the supports available for people with disability please see 
http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/resource-centre/people-with-disability
 
Legal and financial support to attend private sessions is also available.
 
Support and counselling is also available for people making a statement in writing or voice recording.
 

What happens to your testimony to the Royal Commission?

 
All written statements and private sessions provide information to the Royal Commission and help them in making their recommendations for change.
 
All written statements and private sessions are kept confidential.
 
The Commissioners choose whether certain information will go to a public hearing. This decision is usually based on whether the Commissioners want to highlight particular practices or issues (for example, the response by the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army or the YMCA) or specific situations (for example St Ann's Special School in Adelaide).
 
Royal Commission public hearings are open to the public and can be listened to or watched live on the Royal Commission website.
 
Your information is important to the Commission, whether it is part of a public hearing or not.
 
If there is a public hearing into the institution you have provided information about, the Commission may invite you to take part. You are not compelled to give evidence at a public hearing if you do not wish to do so. If there is a public hearing relating to your testimony and you do not want to appear in person, you can provide a written statement to the Royal Commission or choose not to be involved at all.
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