Free Legal Service for Child Abuse Royal Commission
16 July 2013 at 5:21 pm
A free legal advisory service has been launched to give advice and support for people seeking to engage with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Details of the independent legal service, called Knowmore, were announced by the Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.
The Government funded service will provide expert, free legal advice over the phone and in face-to-face meetings in key locations for members of the public considering speaking with the Royal Commission.
The Federal Government has provided $18 million in funding for the service over four years from 2012-2013.
Knowmore Executive Officer Jenny Hardy said that the team was on hand to answer calls and any questions people might have about the Royal Commission and related issues such as availability of compensation, the effect of confidentiality agreements and witness/informant protections.
“Our job is to help people understand all their options for engaging with the Royal Commission so they can make an informed decision and feel supported in that process. We will make sure they are given high quality legal advice and supported to access any other help they might need.
“We have assembled an expert team of community lawyers and counsellors/social workers who are experienced in working with survivors of sexual abuse and people who have experienced trauma,” Hardy said.
“The Royal Commission is a unique opportunity to investigate how institutions and governments can better protect children, and put in place measures to make sure the failures of the past are not repeated.
“We know that this will be a difficult process for many people but we want them to know that whoever they are or whatever their experience, we are here to help them with information, advice and support.
“We are committed to providing culturally safe and accessible services to anyone who seeks our help,” Hardy said.
“People can seek advice from the service and then choose whether or not they want to share their experiences or provide information to the Commission, Attorney General Mark Drayfus said.
“The service will also advise people about other important legal issues such as witness and informant protections, the availability of compensation or other forms of action or redress, and the implications of existing confidentiality agreements.”
The 'knowmore' service is independent of the Royal Commission and is delivered by the National Association of Community Legal Centres.
Anyone interested in speaking with knowmore can call the free advice line on 1800 605 762 between 9am-5pm EST. More information at www.knowmore.org.au