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Media Inquiries

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:

  • In writing (such as a letter or email). The Royal Commission support staff can help you prepare your statement, and you can also get help from services funded by the Royal Commission to provide support.
  • Private face to face session with one of the Commissioners. If you choose to have a private session, you can have a support person with you. Please note that registrations to have a private session with the Commission closed on 30 September 2016. 
  • Recording your experience over the phone or in a meeting with a support officer from the Royal Commission.

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


Registering your interest

The first step is to contact the Royal Commission.

Phone 1800 099 340 8.00am – 8.00pm
Email contact@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au
Mail GPO Box 5283 Sydney NSW 2001
Text only number 0477 718 848

For people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the National Relay Service to contact the Royal Commission. It is available to everyone at no additional charge and you can make calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Calls can be made by TTY on 133 677 or Speak and Listen 1300 555 727.

Call back from the Royal Commission

A Royal Commission officer will call you back – this may take some time depending on the number of people requiring a return call. You do not have to give a lot of detail to the officer – he or she only needs enough information to determine if your information fits the terms of reference (the scope) of the Royal Commission.

If your information is outside the terms of reference of the Royal Commission, the officer will assist you with some referrals to other services that can help if you wish.

If your information is within the terms of reference of the Royal Commission, the officer will ask you how you want to tell your story – whether by written statement, voice recording or a private session with a Commissioner.

Waiting for a private session

The current wait 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 know and they may be able to see you sooner.

At any stage of your engagement with the Royal Commission, if you need some additional support you can contact the Royal Commission and they will arrange for a counsellor to speak with you.

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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