SMH — Thousands of institutions have been implicated in allegations of child sexual abuse, according to new data released by a royal commission.
As the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commences its final public hearing, chairman Justice Peter McClellan has urged child protection reform and proper redress for victims.
The $500 million inquiry is Australia’s longest royal commission, starting in 2013 and due to finish with a final report to the federal government in December.
In his opening remarks to the hearing, Justice McClellan said governments and institutions needed to focus on redress and regulatory changes, “designed to ensure that so far as possible no child is abused in an institutional context in the future”.
“Survivors have waited too long for an effective response to their suffering and the future protection of Australian children must be given the highest priority,” he said.
Justice McClellan and five commissioners have heard the testimony of more than 6500 child sexual abuse survivors in private sessions, with another 2000 people still awaiting a meeting.
More than 1200 witnesses have appeared at the commission in 400 days of public hearings.
Data gleaned largely from private sessions found there were more than 4000 institutions where alleged abuse of children occurred.
Religious institutions were most frequently named, with 60 per cent of survivors in private sessions reporting child abuse in a religious organisation. Just over one-third of survivors reported abuse in a government-managed institution.
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