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Second annual progress report on implementation of recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Media Release

Minister for Industrial Relations
Leader of the House
The Hon. Christian Porter MP

Minister for Families and Social Services
Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Over the past twelve months, the Morrison Government has made significant progress in implementing recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The progress is outlined in the second Annual Progress Report which was tabled today.

The 2019 Report details the Government’s ongoing work to protect and improve the safety and wellbeing of children in institutions across the country. This includes:

  • The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, developed in response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations, are now endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments, and provide a consistent approach to making organisations safe for children across all sectors.
  • Development of a National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse is underway.
  • The Combatting Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation Amendment Act became law, introducing new offences for certain Commonwealth officers who fail to report child sexual abuse or fail to protect children at risk of abuse.
  • The National Standards for Working with Children Checks were endorsed by all jurisdictions as of November 2019 to strengthen the consistency of screening across Australia.
  • The National Reference System for Working with Children Checks – a database to ensure screening agencies know whether a person has been refused a Working with Children Check in another jurisdiction – is being rolled out to each state and territory.
  • Additional, major funding has been committed to prevent child sexual abuse and to provide better support to survivors. This includes $22.5m over five years to establish the independent National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.
  • A further $11.7 million is being invested in the National Redress Scheme to improve its operation and support to survivors seeking redress.

The Morrison Government continues to urge institutions responsible for abuse, including non‑government institutions, to take responsibility and join the National Redress Scheme now.

Work is continuing in partnership with states and territories to ensure children are safe from abuse in institutional care. We are encouraged by the commitment to creating long-lasting change demonstrated across all governments. As in 2018, state and territory governments and non‑government institutions will produce their own annual reports outlining their progress implementing recommendations that apply to them. 

While significant progress has been made, work to implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations will continue in 2020 and beyond.

Children’s safety is a responsibility we all share.

The Annual Progress Report 2019 is available.

For more information, visit the Australian Government Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse website