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Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse – 2022 Annual Progress Report

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse – 2022 Annual Progress Report.

On 15 December 2017, the Royal Commission presented their Final Report to the Governor General, detailing the findings from a five-year inquiry into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The report set out what was heard by victims and survivors; and the Commission’s conclusions and recommendations to better prevent and respond to child sexual abuse in institutions.

The Australian Government committed to deliver five consecutive annual reports until December 2022, outlining the progress on the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations. The fifth annual progress report was tabled in Parliament on 14 December 2022.

The Royal Commission did not direct any specific recommendations to the Department of Defence. However, nine systemic issues in Defence were identified and have been addressed and subsequently led to the development of the Defence Youth Safety Framework.  

 

Defence’s contribution to the 2022 Report.

Defence continues to proactively address issues through the implementation and ongoing evaluation of the Defence Youth Safety Framework. The framework includes all aspects of Defence’s engagement with youth to provide them with physical and psychological safety, protection from abuse and protection of their overall wellbeing.

Defence is also:

  • refining and improving its youth safety training curriculum and delivery. More than 55,000 Defence personnel have completed the Level 1 Youth Safety Training Awareness, which became mandatory for all ADF members in June 2022.
  • reviewing, updating and implementing the Defence Youth Safety Framework and supporting systems to ensure they remain up to date, relevant and effective. On 21 March 2022, Defence held its first virtual Defence Youth Safe Forum, ‘Youth Safe Culture: Embed, Empower, Champion’. The forum demonstrated Defence’s commitment to youth safety and protection.

Defence remains committed to providing trauma-informed restorative justice and redress to victims and survivors of historical abuse in a way that focuses on their needs. Defence redress for people who have experienced abuse, including sexual abuse by members of the ADF includes:

  • direct personal responses
  • counselling
  • financial payments.

 

What’s next?

Recommendation 17.4 of the Royal Commission’s Final Report states the Australian Government should initiate a review to be conducted 10 years after the tabling of the report. The purpose of the review will be to:

  • establish the extent to which the Royal Commission’s recommendations have been implemented
  • examine the extent to which the measures taken in response to the Royal Commission have been effective in preventing child sexual abuse, improving the responses of institutions to child sexual abuse and ensuring that victims and survivors of child sexual abuse obtain justice, treatment and support
  • advise on what further steps should be taken by governments and institutions to ensure continuing improvement in policy and service delivery in relation to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts.

Defence will actively engage with the leading government authority for the review and provide a timely response in consideration of the above points.

Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses To Child Abuse – 2022 Annual Progress Report