The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published submissions from individual victims and survivors, service providers, statutory bodies, government agencies and peak bodies to its issues paper on advocacy and support and therapeutic treatment services.
Royal Commission Chief Executive Officer Philip Reed said 178 submissions have been received which is the highest number of submissions received for an issues paper, reflecting the importance of this topic.
“The responses have shown that victims and survivors have diverse and complex needs where their life stage can influence the type of support they need,” Mr Reed said.
“We have also heard how important advocacy services are for victims and survivors enabling them to have a strong voice for influencing positive change,” he said.
Mr Reed said the Royal Commission’s terms of reference require it to look into what institutions and governments should do to address or alleviate the impact of past and future child sexual abuse in institutional contexts.
“Access to a range of therapies and support is important for victims and survivors to have a choice in the service they need,” Mr Reed said.
“Our Redress and Civil Litigation Report recommends counselling and psychological care provided through redress should supplement, and not compete with, existing services. Further, the Royal Commission took the view that greater public funding for the provision of counselling and psychological care for survivors was warranted,” he said.
Mr Reed said the submissions have revealed that effective services are the ones that provide a seamless experience where victims and survivors are believed, feel safe and do not need to retell their story, however these needs aren’t always being met.
“Currently services are disjointed and often lack expertise in child sexual abuse, trauma and its impacts, resulting in an ineffective response to the needs of victims and survivors,” he said.
“Submissions to the issues paper will be considered alongside the relevant case studies, the personal experiences shared by survivors of abuse in private sessions, and our broader policy work on support services,” Mr Reed said.
Submissions to Issues Paper 10 are available on the Royal Commission website.