The Royal Commission has released their final report - so what now?
It has been almost a month since The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered their Final Report to His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia and it will be up to 12 months before the Federal Government and State Governments provide formal responses.
The Royal Commission’s Final Report contains 17 volumes and has 189 new recommendations. When combined with the three previous Final Reports (Criminal Justice, Redress and Litigation, and Working With Children Checks) the Royal Commission has made a total of 409 recommendations since The Royal Commission was announced in 2012 by the then Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. When printed, bound and stacked, the report is over half a metre (1’ 7 inches”) thick.
The Final Report opens by highlighting that the institutionalised sexual abuse of Australian children is a national Tragedy and states that “Tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in many Australian Institutions. We will never know the true number. Whatever the number, it is a national tragedy, perpetrated over generations within many of our most trusted institutions” (Final Report – Preface and Executive Summary, p.5). This is a fact that all Australians will have to come to grips with over the next few months and years. However, the work the Royal Commission has undertaken has provided us all with a clear path forward. It highlights that child protection is everybody’s responsibility and it has given over 400 recommendations on how we, as a society, can work to better protect children to ensure that “tens of thousands” more children are not exposed to sexual abuse in places where they should be safe.
The Royal Commission has rocketed Australia from where we were to being an international leader in research, practice, knowledge and policy on how to protect children from harm and abuse in our communities. Although it will be a year before the Australian Federal Government details which recommendations will be accepted and how they will be implemented, we, as organisations and service providers, do not have to wait and do nothing until this happens. Australia is now a world leader in protecting children from sexual abuse and organisations within Australia are already hard at work transforming their workplace cultures, enacting commitments to children, establishing and enforcing codes of conduct and committing to becoming Child Safe Organisations. Organisations in other countries that provide services directly to children are also able undertake this same journey – even if a spotlight has not been put on the issue in the same way it has been in Australia.
Poynting Consulting & Advisory is able to help child-serving and child-contact organisations in Australia and internationally – particularly New Zealand and the United States, to ensure that their policies, procedures, codes of conduct and ways of working contribute to an environment where children are seen and valued and a culture of protecting children is embedded at the very core of the organisations being. Contact us today to see how Poynting Consulting & Advisory can help your organisation stand out to your clients as leading your sector in keeping children safe from abuse.