The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will be holding private sessions in Canberra this week.
Chief Executive Officer, Ms Janette Dines, said private sessions are conducted in an informal setting in the presence of one or two Commissioners.
“People who have come to a private session tell us that it was a positive and worthwhile experience,” said Ms Dines.
“We understand how difficult it can be for people to come forward and talk about what happened to them. There are trained counsellors available to provide immediate support to anyone in distress. We also encourage people to bring a support person with them such as a friend or family member.”
Ms Dines said that a large number of people are telling their story for the very first time. “Many people have said that after years of keeping silent, they feel safe to speak out. People have different reasons for coming forward. Some people want the Royal Commission to know what happened to them as a child and the impact it has had on their lives. Many people are telling us that they want to help make institutions safer for children in the future.”
“This will not be the only opportunity for people in the ACT to come forward to tell their story. We will be holding private sessions in Canberra this week and will hold sessions as many times as it takes to hear peoples’ stories,” said Ms Dines.
Private sessions have been held so far in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.
The Royal Commission encourages people who were sexually abused as a child in an Australian institution to register to tell their story to the Royal Commission by:
Telephoning 1800 099 340
Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; or
Writing to GPO Box 5283, Sydney NSW 2001
Media enquiries: (02) 8282 3966 or email@example.com.