Royal Commission to conduct Private Hearings in Cairns

Press Release issued today:RoyCom-Library-0850-cairns-MR

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hold nine private sessions in Cairns on 12 and 13 May 2015.

It will be the second time the Royal Commission has held private sessions in Cairns. In November 2013, 10 survivors of institutional child sexual abuse shared their story in a private session with a Commissioner.

This month, nine survivors will have private sessions.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed explained that private sessions are critical to the Commission’s work, as they allow Commissioners to hear first hand the impact of abuse on people and how the response of an institution affects survivors over their lifetime.

“Through private sessions, we are learning about the impact of child sexual abuse not only on individuals, but their families and communities.

“While it can be difficult for people to talk about the abuse they suffered the opportunity to tell their story can be an important part of the recovery process,” Mr Reed said.

Private sessions are held in a confidential, safe and supported environment. Commission staff provide counselling and can arrange interpreters or other communication assistance if required.

“The experiences and insights people share in private sessions directly inform the Commission’s work in developing recommendations that will provide a just response for people who have been sexually abused and ensure institutions better protect children in the future,” Mr Reed said.

671 private sessions have been held across Queensland with sessions held in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and Woorabinda.

The Royal Commission has held more than 3,300 private sessions in cities and towns across Australia. In the first half of 2015, the Royal Commission will hold private sessions in at least eight regional centres across Australia. In April this year the Royal Commission held its first regional public hearing, held in Rockhampton, which looked at St Joseph’s Orphanage, Neerkol.

If you were sexually abused as a child while in the care of an Australian institution, you can share your story with the Royal Commission by phoning 1800 099 340 or emailingcontact@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

Image provided by the Royal Commission.