Commissioners Justice Peter McClellan and Justice Jennifer Coates at the final sitting of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Picture: Jeremy Piper.
Commissioners Justice Peter McClellan and Justice Jennifer Coates at the final sitting of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Picture: Jeremy Piper.

Child abuse royal commission presents final report

THE child abuse royal commission has presented its final report to the Governor-General.

Commission chair Justice Peter McClellan presented the 17 volume report to Sir Peter Cosgrove at Government House in Canberra at 11am.

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It concluded the $500 million five-year inquiry into how churches, charities and other organisations handled abuse of children.

In that time, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard from thousands of abuse survivors and made more than 2,500 referrals to authorities, including police.

Commissioners Justice Peter McClellan and Justice Jennifer Coates at the final sitting of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney on Thursday. Picture: AAP Image, supplied by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Commissioners Justice Peter McClellan and Justice Jennifer Coates at the final sitting of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney on Thursday. Picture: AAP Image, supplied by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Accepting the report, Sir Peter thanked the commission for their hard work.

The report, and a series of recommendations, are expected to be made public later today.

Speaking at the commission's final sitting yesterday, Justice McClellan said historical child sexual able was a "national tragedy" but warned it was still occurring in institutions today.

But he warned the number of children being abused in family settings far exceeded those abused in institutions.

"If the problems we have identified are to be adequately addressed, changes must be made," he said.

"There must be changes in the culture, structure and governance practices of many institutions."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the final sitting of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Thursday. Picture: AAP Image, supplied.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the final sitting of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Thursday. Picture: AAP Image, supplied.

More than 4000 individual institutions were reported to the royal commission as places where abuse occurred, with tens of thousands of victims.

"The sexual abuse of any child is intolerable in a civilised society," Justice McClellan said.

"It is the responsibility of our entire community to acknowledge that children are being abused.

"We must each resolve that we should do what we can to protect them.

"The tragic impact of abuse for individuals, and, through them, our entire society, demands nothing less."

Justice McClellan also presented the National Library of Australia with a book of around 1,000 messages written by survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

The book, titled 'Message to Australia', is a collation of personal messages written by those who shared their story to the commission during one of 8000 private sessions.



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