Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

It is the job of the Royal Commission to uncover where systems have failed to protect children so it can make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices.

The Royal Commission is about creating a safer future for children. It can look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children. This includes where an organisation caring for a child is responsible for the abuse or for not responding appropriately, regardless of where or when the abuse took place.

What is a Royal Commission? - A Royal Commission is a special investigation into a matter of great importance. In this case, it is the sexual abuse of children within Australian institutions.

Terms of Reference were established and six Commissioners were appointed on Friday, 11 January 2013 by Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Our Commissioners: The Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM is the Chair of the Royal Commission and the other five Commissioners are Mr Bob Atkinson AO APM, Justice Jennifer Coate, Mr Robert Fitzgerald AM, Professor Helen Milroy and Mr Andrew Murray.

About us

Share Your Story: Are you ready to share your story?

  • If you were sexually abused as a child in an Australian institution, like a school, religious organisation or sports club, you can tell your story to the Royal Commission. If you're ready to share your story, we're ready to listen.

Public Hearings

  • The Royal Commission holds formal public hearings to hear evidence about child sexual abuse within institutions. The hearings do not focus on individual cases, but instead focus on case studies of how institutions have responded to allegations and proven instances of child sexual abuse.
  • The Royal Commission held its first public hearing on Monday, 16 September 2013. All of the case studies held since that date can be viewed on the Case Studies page. For each case study you can view the witness list, transcripts, exhibits, images and associated submissions.
  • The Royal Commission’s public hearings are open to the public. They can also be watched or listened to live via this website from the Case Studies page.
  • To find out when the next hearing will take place, view the Royal Commission’s schedule. If you are planning to attend in person, visit the Attend in person page so you understand the formalities associated with attending in person.
  • It’s important to remember that the Royal Commission is not a court of law and cannot make decisions about criminal matters. Rather, the Commissioners will deliver recommendations based on what they discover during a public hearing.
  • To find out more about recommendations and findings that have been made following public hearings, visit the Findings page.


  • The Royal Commission conducts a comprehensive research program into topics relevant to its work. The program studies prevention, reporting and responding to allegations of child sexual abuse as well as support and redress.
  • Find out more about the Royal Commission’s research program.
  • The Royal Commission also releases Issues Papers and invites public submissions on these papers. The Issues Papers are on topics of interest to the Royal Commission’s work and allow organisations and individuals an opportunity to provide their opinions and expertise in an open forum.
  • Find out more about Issues Papers and submissions.

Support services: Discussing child sexual abuse can be difficult. This is especially so for survivors, their families and professional staff supporting them. For many, recalling the events of the past can bring back painful memories, particularly for those telling their story for the first time. The Royal Commission can refer survivors of child sexual abuse to counsellors or special support groups. The search tool below can help you find a service. Some services also give support to families and professional staff.

Resource Centre

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(Sourced: The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse)