Monday 22 October 2018

The Australian Human Rights Commission today welcomes the Prime Minister’s National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, which will take place this morning at Parliament House in Canberra.

The National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell said it’s an incredibly significant and historic moment in time.

“I applaud the Prime Minister in taking this opportunity to recognise the pain and suffering of those who were abused as children and young people, because such experiences can never be forgotten,” said Commissioner Mitchell.

“It’s to our nation’s shame that children were subjected to such horrific trauma, and that these violations took place in organisations that should have been protecting them.

“I hope that the Apology will drive momentum for lasting change and will embed desperately needed safety mechanisms to ensure this never happens again.

“There are about 5.5 million children living in Australia today, making up nearly a quarter of our total population. Every single one of those children should feel safe - everyday, everywhere.

“It is up to all of us to be responsible for them. And those who have the power to put policies in place to protect them, have a duty to do so,” she said.

Ms Mitchell noted the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory have both provided findings and recommendations that add valuable insights into how Australia could better protect children and young people.  In response, the Australian Human Rights Commission, with the support of the Australian Government, is leading the development and implementation of principles for child safe organisations, which will apply to all child serving organisations across Australia.

Ms Mitchell will be reporting to the United Nations on Australia’s progress against the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including these Royal Commissions as well as a range of other significant inquiries and research.