The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
The Royal Commission is an inquiry into what institutions and government should do to better protect children. It also aims to encourage the reporting of, and responding to reports, of child sexual abuse.
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.
The types of assistance available for people engaging with the Royal Commission are also outlined in the Assistance for people engaging with the Royal Commission fact sheet:
Assistance for witnesses
The Attorney-General's Department is administering assistance for witnesses. A witness is anyone called, or given leave to appear, at a hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. There are two forms of assistance available:
- payment of witness expenses
- a legal financial assistance scheme.
Payment of witness expenses
You are eligible to apply for payment of witness expenses if you are a witness attending a hearing of the Royal Commission. Expenses covered include a daily appearance fee and may also include payments for travel, accommodation and lost income.
More information on witness expenses can be found on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse - Legal financial assistance and witness expenses page.
Legal financial assistance
You are eligible to apply for legal financial assistance if you are appearing as an individual witness (not an organisation) at a hearing of the Royal Commission. Legal financial assistance is provided as a grant to cover the reasonable costs of legal representation and disbursements relating to the provision of evidence to the Royal Commission.
More information on legal financial assistance can be found on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse - Legal financial assistance and witness expenses page.
Assistance for people engaging with the Royal Commission
National legal advisory service (knowmore)
The Australian Government has funded the establishment of an independent legal service called 'knowmore'. It provides legal advice to help people understand the legal issues relevant to them, so they can be in the best position to decide whether, and how, they wish to contact or provide information to the Royal Commission.
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.
More information about their services can be found on the knowmore website.
Community based support services
On 14 July 2013 the former Minister Macklin and former Minister Collins, announced twenty-eight organisations will provide community-based support services to people who participate in the Royal Commission.
These organisations will 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 will complement existing supports provided by the Royal Commission and the Attorney-General's Department.
For more information, visit the Department of Social Services website.