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How you will have YourSay:

The ACT Government’s response to the Royal Commission puts community engagement at its centre. We are committed to developing change with those who will be affected to ensure we get the best fit for the ACT.

This page is where we will ask for suggestions and feedback on the changes we can make to enhance a culture of child safety in the ACT.

How you have already provided feedback:

Most recently, we held forums with stakeholders and opened a survey to find out how providers of services to children in the ACT rated their own readiness for the introduction of Child Safe Standards.

The survey closed on 20 December 2018. Responses will help inform our next steps toward implementing Child Safe Standards.

You can read this report on What We Heard at the stakeholder forums.

We will be looking at:

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse made 409 recommendations across four reports. The ACT Government has responded to each and every recommendation, and will be implementing as many as we can, as soon as we can.

Further engagement in the coming months and years will cover recommendations in the Royal Commission's:

  • Working With Children Checks Report
  • Redress and Civil Litigation Report
  • Criminal Justice Report
  • Final Report

Who can provide input:

All engagements are open to the whole Canberra community yet they may be of particular interest to stakeholder groups working in legal, justice and social service areas.

We will use your views to:

The views you share will help us iron out details in legislation, regulation or other changes we've committed to making in response to the Royal Commission. You will help to ensure the reforms we implement are tailor-made to be effective in the ACT.

History

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) was established in 2013, in response to allegations of sexual abuse of children in institutional contexts that had been emerging in Australia for many years.

The Royal Commission issued a total of four reports:

  • The Final Report on 15 December 2017, containing 189 recommendations. 103 of these are pertinent to state and territory governments.
  • The Working with Children Checks Report in August 2015, containing 36 recommendations, 35 of which are relevant to state and territory governments
  • The Redress and Civil Litigation Report in September 2015, containing 99 recommendations, 87of which are relevant to state and territory governments
  • The Criminal Justice Report in August 2017, containing 85 recommendations, 83 of which are relevant to state and territory governments; and

The ACT Government has been implementing recommendations from Royal Commission since they began to be issued in 2015.

In the year since the Royal Commission issued its Final Report, on 15 December 2017, the ACT Government has implemented a number of key recommendations to better protect children.

On 15 June 2018 we delivered our formal response to the Royal Commission, committing to address every one of its recommendations.

On 1 July 2018 the National Redress Scheme commenced with support from the ACT Government.

On 22 October 2018 we supported the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

On 15 December 2018 we released our first annual progress report. Key achievements include:

  • Completing the majority of recommendations relating to redress and civil litigation, as a result of the ACT Government joining the National Redress Scheme.
  • Implementing more recommendations from the Royal Commission’s Criminal Justice report, including the introduction of two new grooming offences, a new offence for the failure to protect from child sexual abuse, and changes to sentencing provisions.
  • Progressing legislative amendments of the Education Act 2004 and the ACT Teacher Quality Institute Act 2010, to improve child safety and information sharing.
  • Extensive ongoing collaboration with all jurisdictions to develop and implement National Standards for Working with Children Checks, and to establish nationally consistent parameters for worker screening.
  • Expanding our Reportable Conduct Scheme on 1 July 2018 to include religious institutions providing pastoral care and religious instruction.
  • Ending the ability to use the ‘Ellis defence’ in the ACT with the Civil Law (Wrongs) (Child Abuse Claims Against Unincorporated Bodies) Act 2018, to ensure survivors are able to take civil action against institutions, regardless of the legal structure of the institution.
  • Establishing the new Inspector of Correctional Services to independently oversee the operation of adult and youth detention systems in the ACT.

Next Steps

Over the coming year our areas of focus will include:

  • Consulting on recommendations that have implications for the religious confessional seal, in relation to mandatory reporting. An expert consultant’s report will be provided to government in early 2019.
  • Ending transitional arrangements that currently exclude reportable conduct disclosed in the course of religious confession from the Reportable Conduct Scheme on 1 April 2019.
  • Amending legislation to enhance the operation and administration of the Working With Vulnerable People Scheme.
  • Collaborating with the Commonwealth and other State and Territory governments on recommendations agreed as national priorities, such as developing the National Framework on Child Safety and Child Safe Standards, information sharing, record keeping and data collection; and addressing the complex issue of children with harmful sexual behaviours.

Survey

Supporting a child safe and child friendly Canberra

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended the introduction of minimum Child Safe Standards, and the government is working toward understanding how to implement these Standards in the ACT.

On 16 and 17 October 2018, we conducted two stakeholder forums, facilitated by the ACT’s Children & Young People Commissioner and Public Advocate, Jodie Griffiths-Cook. We invited attendees to complete a short survey to help guide discussion at the forums. Here is a report on What We Heard in preparation for the forums, and during them.

Further survey responses were able to be submitted until close of business on Thursday, 20 December. The survey is now closed.

Survey responses will be reviewed to help to inform our next steps toward implementing Child Safe Standards.