Premier Gladys Berejiklian has delivered an apology to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse on behalf of the NSW Government at an official ceremony at the Sydney Opera House this morning.
The apology paid tribute to survivors, and thanked those who bravely shared their experiences through the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“On behalf of the Government and people of NSW, to every survivor, I apologise deeply and unreservedly - for the pain they have suffered, and for the failure of governments and institutions to protect them when they needed it most,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“It is my responsibility to ensure that we act today where governments and institutions too often failed in the past - beginning with the adoption and implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
“We will use every authority of Government to create meaningful, enduring change in the institutions and organisations of our society.”
Attorney General Mark Speakman said today’s apology recognises the widespread impact of child sexual abuse revealed by the Royal Commission.
“The NSW Government has responded with comprehensive reforms to the civil and criminal law, helping victims and survivors obtain access to justice and improving child safety, as well as being the first state or territory to legislate for redress,” Mr Speakman said.
Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward said the NSW Government was taking action to prevent child sexual abuse and to provide greater access to services and support for survivors.
“We are ensuring non-government and government organisations are supported to promote child safety, better prevent and respond to child sexual abuse and improve treatment and support for survivors of abuse,” Ms Goward said.
The NSW Government encourages survivors of child sexual or physical assault to access confidential counselling that is available through the Victims Support Scheme on 1800 633 063.
Support can also be reached by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Survivors & Mates Support Network Helpline on 1800 472 676 and the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111.