Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Indigenous Affairs Indigenous Advisory Council
Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council (the Council) welcomes the release of the report by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on 15 December 2017.

We would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of the Commissioners in delivering their comprehensive report in response to the often harrowing personal accounts of victims of abuse, who demonstrated great courage and determination in sharing their stories.

The importance of the work done by Commissioners the Honourable Justice Peter David McClellan AM, Mr Robert Atkinson, the Honourable Justice Jennifer Ann Coate, Mr Robert William Fitzgerald AM, Dr Helen Mary Milroy, and Mr Andrew James Marshall Murray since November 2012, cannot be overstated.  This has been a significant task and has generated a number of important recommendations for government consideration.

We value the importance of having safe and secure environments for children to flourish and the application of trauma informed care to support healing.

As the report states: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are significantly over-represented in some high-risk institutional contexts due to a range of historical, social and economic factors, including the impacts of colonisation. The trauma of child sexual abuse was often bound up with the trauma of being separated from their family and culture. Most survivors who had been removed as children said this had disconnected them from their family, land and cultural traditions, leaving them without these as resources for recovery and for building their future. Survivors said the trauma associated with their removal and sexual abuse in institutional settings manifested in relationship difficulties passed from generation to generation. They spoke of the importance of connecting to culture to support their resilience and healing.

We too want to ensure into the future, that we have robust and appropriate structures in place to protect and nurture children in an environment where they can flourish, and ensure culturally tailored approaches to meet the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.  

We commend the Councillor’s forbearance, courage and integrity in the collation of this Report and know it is an important contribution that will help inform policy approaches to support positive futures for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.