Queue for child abuse evidence

ALMOST 3800 people have given evidence in private sessions before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

There are presently 1527 people waiting in the queue to be heard.

The chairman of the Royal Commission, Justice Peter McClellan AM has told the triennial assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia that applications for private sessions are received at a rate of almost 50 per week.

The Royal Commission has, so far, received 13,256 allegations within its terms of reference.

A private session is conducted by one or two commissioners and is an opportunity for a person to tell their story of abuse in a protected and supportive environment.

"We have now completed 3766 private sessions," Justice McClellan said.

"I can also indicate that I have now referred 666 matters, most coming from private sessions, to police to investigate with a view to prosecution of an offender.

"The people who we talk to in private sessions cover a broad spectrum of Australian society. Each of them has been betrayed by a trusted adult. Each of their individual experiences has left a mark on their lives. For some the lifelong consequences have been catastrophic.

"Each person's story is unique with impacts of greater or lesser significance in their life journey and with differing impacts upon their psychological and physical well-being.

"It is also reported to us that there are many people who cannot tell their story. They have taken their own lives." 

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