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Assistance for people engaging with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) will inquire into how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

It will investigate where systems have failed to protect children and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions.

More information is available from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse website, including information about its terms of reference, how to provide information to the Royal Commission and the support services available to the victims of child sexual abuse.

Legal financial assistance

Legal financial assistance is a grant to cover the reasonable costs of legal representation and disbursements relating to the provision of evidence to the Royal Commission.

Eligibility

Individuals are eligible to apply for legal financial assistance if they:

  • receive a letter from the Royal Commission requesting they attend an interview, or
  • are called, or given leave to appear, as a witness at a public or private hearing.

People are not eligible to apply if:

  • appearing on behalf of an organisation, or
  • attending a private session.

More information about legal financial assistance can be found in the following fact sheet:

How to apply

There are two ways to send an application, however, online applications are preferred.

You can:

If you cannot send your application by email, please contact the Financial Assistance Section on (02) 6141 4770.

Assessment timeframes

Complete applications will be assessed within 21 days. In the event that you receive less than 21 days notice of appearing, the department will endeavour to assess your application prior to your date of appearance.

Incomplete applications will not be assessed. You will be notified if your application is incomplete.

Guidelines

More information is available in the Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance for People Appearing before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse:

The standard rates for legal representation and related costs are available in the following document:

Other assistance available for people engaging with the Royal Commission

Payment of witness expenses

If you are a witness who has been called to give evidence at a hearing of the Royal Commission, you can apply for payments to cover your expenses to attend the hearing. Expenses covered include a daily appearance fee and may also include payments for travel, accommodation and lost income (note that this does not include private sessions).

Funding for witness expenses is provided by the Royal Commission. You can get further information about funding for witness expenses by contacting the Witness Support team at the Royal Commission by emailing witnessinfo@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au or calling 1300 229 776.

National legal advisory service (knowmore)

The Australian Government has funded the establishment of an independent legal service called 'knowmore'.

knowmore is a free service that provides:

  • legal advice and assistance
  • legal information and referral to related services where necessary
  • assistance with preparing written statements and submissions.

knowmore's staff includes lawyers, counsellors/social workers, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural liaison officers.

knowmore's national free advice line is 1800 605 762.

For more information visit the knowmore website or call knowmore's national free advice line on 1800 605 762.

Community based support services

The Department of Social Services is funding 28 organisations to provide community-based support services to people who participate in the Royal Commission.

These organisations deliver services such as counselling, support and case management to individuals and their family members before, during and after their interaction with the Royal Commission. The services complement existing support provided by the Royal Commission and the Attorney-General's Department.

For more information, visit the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse - Support Service Organisations page on the Department of Social Services website.