NFPs To Be in Royal Commission Spotlight
13 November 2012 at 9:22 am
Not for Profits are to be included in the broad scope of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in Australia.
The acting Federal Families Minister, Brendan O’Connor says the Royal Commission it is about dealing with victims and there is a need to cast the net widely and investigate institutions both religions and Not for Profit organisations that have failed to remedy the problems.
In announcing the Royal Commission, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also declared his support for a "wide-ranging" royal commission into child sex abuse but said it should not just focus on claims involving the Catholic Church.
The Prime Minister said the commission would look at all religious organisations, state care providers, Not for Profit bodies as well as the responses of child service agencies and the police.
“These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject.The individuals concerned deserve the most thorough of investigations into the wrongs that have been committed against them.
“They deserve to have their voices heard and their claims investigated,” Gillard said.
Save the Children has welcomed the decision to establish a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.
Save the Children’s Karen Flanagan who is described as one of the nation’s leading child protection experts said, “There is a clear public interest in a national inquiry into sexual abuse to determine the reasons why child abuse has been able to be committed on the scale it has in certain organisations and to investigate why perpetrators were not always held to account.”
“Save the Children hopes the Royal Commission results in better protection for children in all organisations so that child sexual abuse can be prevented in the future.”
Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell has welcomed the announcement of a Royal Commission, saying the church will cooperate fully.
"Public opinion remains unconvinced that the Catholic Church has dealt adequately with sexual abuse," he said in a statement.
Advocacy group, People with Disability Australia (PWDA), has stressed the importance of the Royal Commission in including a specific focus on the sexual abuse of children and young people with a disability.
“We know that children with disability are sexually abused at a much higher rate than their non-disabled peers and that these crimes although not exclusively are most often committed toward girls and young women with disability. 18% of women with disability report that they experienced sexual violence as a child.” the PWDA Executive Director, Matthew Bowden said.
“The Royal Commission should have a focus on congregate settings of care such as institutions, residential and respite centres, special schools and out-of-home care.
“The inquiry needs to examine the barriers and failures of current systems in identifying, preventing, responding and achieving justice for victims.”
Bowden said the Royal Commission will need to make adjustments so that people with disability with cognitive and communication impairments are able to give evidence and bear witness to the abuses they have encountered.
“It is essential that the Royal Commission enables people with disability to voice their experiences. We cannot allow this significant group to be silenced and forgotten,” Bowden said.
The Federal Government has set up a Hotline number – 1800 099 340 – for people wanting information about the inquiry.