The NSW Government has announced a comprehensive $127 million package to implement the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the package would strengthen measures to prevent child sexual abuse, ensure greater access to treatment and support services for children and adults impacted by child sexual abuse and toughen the criminal justice response to child offence matters.
“We are committed to ensuring that children now and in the future can live free from harm and most importantly are adequately protected and supported by the institutions entrusted to care for them,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Our top priority is to support the survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse and to do all in our power to learn the lessons, to fix the failures, and to bring about lasting change.”
“NSW has led the nation in its response to the Royal Commission and today’s funding builds on our commitments. We have listened, learnt and acted.”
Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward said this investment will strengthen measures in the community to prevent child sexual abuse through stronger child safe standards within the government and non-government sectors.
“We are also ensuring that non-government organisations and government organisations are adequately resourced to respond better to complaints of child sexual abuse,” Ms Goward said.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said the Royal Commission had increased public awareness of child sexual abuse, which means Local Courts will require additional support to deliver timely justice.
“As a result of the Royal Commission there’s been an increase in the number of criminal justice matters before our courts and we expect that growth to continue,” Mr Speakman said.
“The steps we are taking in this package and beyond reinforce the work NSW has already done since the Royal Commission to assist victims and survivors obtain access to justice and to hold perpetrators to account.”
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the Royal Commission recommended a public health approach focused on prevention, early intervention and treatment services to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children.
“We are investing more into specialist therapies and treatment for children at risk or who have harmed others. We are also improving access to specialist support for adult survivors of child sexual abuse,” Mr Hazzard said.
This package continues the Government’s ongoing commitment to implement the recommendations from the Royal Commission. To date, the NSW Government has invested more than $570 million in reforms stemming from the Royal Commission’s findings.
NSW was the first state to pass legislation for redress and to introduce extensive criminal law reforms, including maximum life sentences for persistent child sexual abuse and new offences for failure to report or protect against child abuse.
Yesterday, the NSW Government passed the Civil Liability Amendment (Institutional Child Abuse) Bill, bringing an end to the legal loophole that prevented victims from suing institutions.
Today’s $127 million package includes:
- $37.7 million for early intervention, child specialist therapeutic services and resources for the community;
- $14.8 million to expand sexual assault outreach for Aboriginal people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities;
- $14.3 million for an integrated specialist therapeutic service for adult survivors;
- $6.9 million for strengthened out-of-home care checks;
- $5.9 million for improved safety of children in juvenile detention;
- $4.1 million to expand Local Court capacity;
- $2.7 million for resources for NGO caseworkers to respond to children with complex needs and
- $2.1 million for a worker register to better protect children in intensive therapeutic care.