Questions and Answers about the Royal Commission

How will the Commission function? 

The Chair Sir Anand Satyanand will work alongside the Commissioners to progress the delivery of the Terms of Reference.

There will also be a number of people in the secretariat to support and implement activities including an investigation and legal team headed by Simon Mount QC and contact and support staff.

Why is faith-based care included?

Many of the 400 submissions that Sir Anand received suggested that the inclusion of non-state care in the Terms of Reference would be appropriate. Sir Anand agreed with that view and reported to the Government on this. The Government acknowledges there is a wider responsibility to all children.

When can I tell my story?

The Chair will work together with the Commissioners and key stakeholders to plan how the Inquiry will run. While it may take some time to get the appropriate support services in place the inquiry will be up and running in 2019.  

The Royal Commission will then contact anyone who has pre-registered with us and will publicise when, where and how survivors can be involved.

Do I need to register now to be involved?

Pre-registration is welcomed. We will let you know when we are ready to begin the Inquiry process.

What will the Commissioners do?

The Commissioners bring with them a wide range of skills and life experiences.

First, along with the Chair, they will decide how to run the Inquiry, followed by public meetings. They will investigate the different forms of abuse and the impacts of that abuse. Finally they will report back to Government with their findings and recommendations on issues brought to their attention.

Will the Inquiry pay compensation?

No, the Inquiry is not the vehicle to award or pay out compensation. 

The Inquiry has been asked to make recommendations to the Government about the process of compensation and what that might look like in the future.

How long will the Inquiry run?

It is anticipated the Inquiry will take a number of years.  The Royal Commission is expected to provide the Governor General with an interim report in 2020, and final report in 2023.

Can you progress my case through the courts?

No, the Royal Commission is not able to advance a case in the courts. In some cases, we may refer people to the Police if they wish to make a formal complaint about criminal offending.

Do I have to tell the Royal Commission about crimes I have committed?

No. Anybody participating in the Royal Commission has the privilege against self-incrimination. This means you do not need to answer any questions, or provide any information, about crimes you may have committed and have not been convicted of.

What if I choose to tell the Royal Commission in a private session about crimes I have committed?

The Royal Commission’s private sessions will be kept confidential, with only very limited exceptions. These exceptions are:

If you tell us about any current serious risk to the health and safety of any person – for example if you tell us you are going to commit suicide, or that you are currently at risk of assaulting or sexually abusing someone – we will have to tell the Police or authorities.

If you tell us about serious criminal offending that is ongoing or planned for the future, we will also have to tell the Police or authorities.

Unless those exceptions apply, we will make sure that all information you give us about your past crimes is kept confidential, to the extent permitted by the law.

How can I keep up to date with what is happening at the Commission?

There are a number of different ways you can find out what is happening at the Commission. You can: