Turnbull To Deliver National Child Sex Abuse Apology
"We owe it to them to ensure that they are protected."
Following the royal commission into institutional sex abuse, hundreds of recommendations were made to organisations including the federal government. Many of those have already been accepted, and on Wednesday, Turnbull announced the government would accept 104 of the 122 recommendations made for the Commonwealth. A further 18 are still under review and further consideration, with the PM stressing that these have not been rejected.
The PM also announced a national apology would be given in parliament later this year.
"I will deliver a national apology to the survivors, victims and families of institutional child sexual abuse on 22 October here in Canberra," he told a press conference.
The apology will coincide with National Children's Week, Turnbull noted.
"Now that we've uncovered the shocking truth, we must do everything in our power to honour the bravery of the thousands of people who came forward," he said.
"The royal commission has made very clear that we all have a role to play to keep our children safe. Governments, schools, sporting clubs, churches, charitable institutions and, of course, all of us."
"We all have a vested interest in the safety of other people's children, not just our own. We have to take an interest in our future, those children are our future. We owe it to them to ensure that they are protected."
Turnbull said the government would report on its progress in implementing the royal commission recommendations each year in December.
The PM said Western Australia would soon join the national redress scheme for child abuse victims, the last remaining state to do so. It follows the signup of the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches, the Salvation Army, and Scouts Australia to the scheme in recent months.
The federal government will also create an office for child safety from July 1. Social services minister Dan Tehan said the new office would:
work with the states and territories to develop a national framework for child safety research and national strategy to prevent child sex abuse.
Tehan added that the maximum amount of compensation available under the redress scheme would be $150,000, with an average payment of around $76,000.
"The redress scheme is meant to be non-litigious, with low evidentiary standards... the scrutiny that will be cast over these applications will be largely on the papers so that we can make sure that they're dealt with in a way that doesn't retraumatise survivors," Attorney-General Christian Porter said.
"It's essentially the survivor, so the individual person who has been the subject of sexual abuse in an institutional setting... that coverage covers everything from immigration and defence cadet settings right through to kinship arrangements and care arrangements."
The Blue Knot Foundation, which assists people who have experienced childhood trauma, supported the government's response to the royal commission recommendations.
"Of particular import is the announcement of a taskforce to track responses to the recommendations and report both in 2020 and 2028," said Blue Knot's president, Dr Cathy Kezelman.
"The Royal Commission strategically revisited a number of institutions in its public hearings before the Commission closed to hold them and their leaders to account, to show what they are doing differently and scrutinise culture, processes and policy." The taskforce will it seems also have a monitoring and accountability role, which is critical, to maintain the pressure on institutions to change, to keep children safe, to proactively report abuse, to support victims and enable pathways to justice."