Royal Commission finds sexual abuse rife in the Australian Defence Force

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its report into the Australian Defence Force (ADF) this week.   The Commission’s discoveries are horrific.   It found that at the institutions investigated, the HMAS Leeuwin, the Army Apprentice School in Balcombe and the ADF Cadets, child sexual abuse was widespread.   These Read more about Royal Commission finds sexual abuse rife in the Australian Defence Force[…]

Improper practices in youth detention: a national crisis?

In the wake of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, we have been heartened to see other State and Territory governments conduct reports into the conditions of their own juvenile detention centres. However, what has emerged from these reports are chilling stories of abuse, self-harm & the Read more about Improper practices in youth detention: a national crisis?[…]

Victoria passes new legislation reversing onus of proof for child abuse matters

In recent days the Victorian government passed an Australian-first piece of legislation that signals a huge reform in how child abuse cases are to be prosecuted. Entitled the Wrongs Amendment (Organisational Child Abuse) Act 2017, it has the effect of reversing the onus of proof onto organisations accused of failing to prevent child abuse. This Read more about Victoria passes new legislation reversing onus of proof for child abuse matters[…]

Inside the Numbers: the Child Abuse Royal Commission

The mind has difficulty processing numbers that are too large. Earlier this week the Royal Commission heard that members of the Catholic Church allegedly abused 4,444 children between 1980 and 2015. The abuse of so many children is, as Dan Box of The Australian said, “criminality on a scale previously unimagined.” With numbers that large, you Read more about Inside the Numbers: the Child Abuse Royal Commission[…]

Northern Territory Royal Commission: Day One

Day One of the Royal Commission wasn’t day one in any substantive sense – it was merely a directions hearing, the purpose of which was “to inform key stakeholders and the public about the nature and scope of the Commission”. Regarding the scope of the Commission, it has become clear today that the inquiry will focus Read more about Northern Territory Royal Commission: Day One[…]

Juvenile Justice Done Wrong, and How to Do It Right

Before the Northern Territory Royal Commission begins in October, let’s take a short breather to remind ourselves what it is we’re examining. Don Dale showed us the worst of what juvenile detention can be. Four Corners broadcast footage of children as young as thirteen being abused, assaulted and belittled. These children – denied opportunities and Read more about Juvenile Justice Done Wrong, and How to Do It Right[…]

The importance of the work of the Royal Commission

A few sentences is not enough to communicate the full horror of Ken McIlwain’s experience, so instead we will give a mechanical retelling of his story. As a cadet in the Australian Defence Force Ken was sexually assaulted, repeatedly, by two senior members. When he approached medical officers, they brushed him off and gave him Read more about The importance of the work of the Royal Commission[…]