AAFS Plenary, November 2018, The Hon. Justice Peter McClellan AM
This presentation will discuss the Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission and the changes to the legislation made to facilitate its work. Apart from the forensic task of identifying institutional failures the Royal Commission spoke to more than 8 000 survivors in Private Sessions. The Royal Commission was able to examine many problems relating to the sexual abuse of children through its research, which included the criminal investigation by police and the prosecution of alleged offenders. The major study of juries provided the foundation for recommendations with respect to the evidence that should be admissible at a trial including evidence of prior convictions. The Royal Commission also made recommendations with respect to the civil liability of institutions. The methods adopted by the Royal Commission in carrying out its task provide an insight into the complexity of its task and the methods by which it sought to ensure that the general community understood the nature and extent of the crimes which have been committed and the need for an appropriate response from government and institutions.