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Supporting people with disability affected by the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission.

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Presentation on theme: "Supporting people with disability affected by the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission."— Presentation transcript:

1 Supporting people with disability affected by the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission

2 Introduction to the Royal Commission The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was called at the end of 2012. It is set up to find out : –why child sex abuse happens in institutions; –what the problems are with how institutions respond to child sex abuse, and –how to change institutions to stop child sex abuse from happening.

3 What counts as an ‘institution’? Children with disability may have been sexually abused in mainstream institutions, like: –Churches –Schools –Hospitals –Sporting clubs –Children’s homes –Orphanages

4 What counts as an ‘institution’? Or in ‘specialist’ institutions, like: –Respite centres –Day centres/ recreation programs –Large residential centres/ disability institutions –Group homes –Institutions for people with mental illness –Special schools/ boarding schools –Juvenile justice facilities

5 The Royal Commission wants to hear your story The Royal Commission enables people to share their experiences in a number of different ways: –Written submissions (including artwork/poetry) –Recorded interviews (audio) –Private sessions (with Commissioners) –Public hearings (with Commissioners, in public)

6 The Royal Commission thus far… As of the September 1, the Royal Commission has: –Handled 16,110 phone calls –Received 7,023 letters and emails –Held 2,266 private sessions –Issued 865 notices to produce (to institutions with information related to allegations)

7 The Royal Commission thus far… Public hearings (16) Roundtables on specific issues (Working with Children Checks and Preventing sexual abuse of children in out-or-home care Published the Interim Report Published 2 research reports (on mandatory reporting laws and child exploitation materials ) Conducting extensive research projects

8 Supporting people with disability affected by the Royal Commission We are here to help children and adults with disability to participate in the Royal Commission. We want to make sure that children and adults with disability are supported to tell their stories of child sexual abuse in institutions, if they want to.

9 Key Issues Children with disability: –Experience abuse at a rate 3.14 times higher than their peers (Robinson, 2012); –Experience sexual abuse at much higher rates than their peers; –Are much less likely to disclose abuse. Children with disability are more likely to receive care in specialist and segregated settings which are associated with higher risks of sexual abuse.

10 Barriers to Reporting People with disability, including children, may face many barriers to reporting: –They may not have adequate support to report to the police –They may only be able to report to staff, who may not respond well –The police may not be equipped to respond –They may not be understood as ‘reliable witnesses’ and so are denied access to legal justice.

11 Unique Opportunity The Royal Commission is a unique opportunity for people with disability: –You can tell your story, even if you have already told someone (including the police, or courts) –If you don’t remember everything, you can share what you do remember –If you need special arrangements to participate, there is support for you All information will be used to try to make our society safer for all children.

12 Supporting people with disability affected by the Royal Commission This project is made up of four parts: –Individual Advocacy –Training –Systemic Advocacy and Policy –Research

13 Individual Advocacy We are here to ensure that people with disability affected by the Royal Commission have access to individual advocacy. We can help you through Royal Commission processes, like: –Ensuring sessions/hearings are accessible –Ensuring supports are appropriate and accessible –Supporting people with decision making –Supporting people while they wait for a session

14 Individual Advocacy Our Individual Advocates have been fully trained to support children and adults with disability affected by the Royal Commission across Australia. Advocates can assist with related issues – access to services, housing and discrimination complaints. Call 1800 422 015

15 Training Our training packages are key to ensuring that people with disability, their supporters and service providers, know about their sexual and human rights. This is part of our Engagement Strategy: we will be targeting those areas abuse has been alleged, to ensure that people with disability can participate in the Royal Commission if they wish to.

16 Training - people with disability Sexuality and Respectful Relationships Equips participants with an in-depth understanding of their human and sexual rights, helps them to recognise violence and abuse, and supports them in developing strategies around prevention and response.

17 Training - Disability Service Providers Responding to Sexual Assault Equips participants with preventative approaches to sexual violence, especially in ensuring best practice preventative measures and strategies for response.

18 Training - parents, families and carers Supporting Respectful Relationships of Children and Adults with Disability Informs participants about the human and sexual rights of people with disability and the supports required for these rights to be realised.

19 Training - other Support Services Disability Awareness and Confidence Raises the disability competence of staff and the organisation as a whole. For mainstream support services, especially those supporting people affected by the Royal Commission.

20 Systemic Advocacy and Policy Submissions to the Royal Commission: –Child-Safe Institutions –Segregation –Sex and Relationships Education –Access to Justice –Restrictive Practices –NDIS – safeguards and quality framework Series of focus groups with people with disability.

21 Research In collaboration with the Southern Cross University we will be investigating what makes children with disability feel safe when they receive services. Outcomes of the research will go directly to the Royal Commission for inclusion in their policy work, findings and recommendations.

22 Further Information –Sign up for newsletters! For Individual Advocacy –call 1800 422 015; TTY 1800 422 016; –email: For Training queries –email: For Systemic Advocacy, Policy and Research queries –email:

23 Other key support services There are support services available to those affected by the Royal Commission –Sexual Assault Counselling Australia (part of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia) provide phone and face-to-face counselling to survivors and supporters Call 1800 211 028. –knowmore provide legal advice, and a range of other services like counselling. Call 1800 605 762

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