Page 476 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013
The commission will make policy recommendations about how we as a community can better protect children. It will not have the powers to directly prosecute but will work closely with state and territory authorities.
The commission will provide a voice to survivors and ensure that their experiences are not only heard but also acknowledged and validated, and it is hoped that by sharing these experiences it will help victims of such abuse to move forward whilst also forming a key component in the development of effective policies and strategies. The commission is expected to produce an interim report by June 2014 which will provide an update on progress.
The ACT government does acknowledge the suffering endured by victims in institutions and systems that failed to protect them and welcomes the opportunity to assist the royal commission in preventing this from ever occurring again.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.
MS PORTER: Can the Chief Minister advise what arrangements have been put in place for people who would like to contact the commission?
MS GALLAGHER: Since the announcement of the establishment of the royal commission, I think it is fair to say that there has been, certainly with me in my role as Chief Minister, a lot of discussion about people coming forward who may not have come forward in the past and how to have their story heard. I know that a number of non-government organisations around Canberra are noticing that.
The commission has responded very quickly and established a 1800 telephone number for callers to contact and leave their details so that the commission, once they have all their staff available, will be in a position to respond. There is also a website where people can leave their details for contact and get information and updates around the commission.
I think it is important that, in the early days of the commission, as much as we can for people coming forward and in our roles as members in this place, we are facilitating their conduct with the royal commission and the way we are managing that. All states and territories, as I understand it, are working with the royal commission, but we do, in this instance, need to make sure that people are being supported in accessing that 1800 number and the website and then hand it over to the commission whilst it is completing its work.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.
DR BOURKE: Chief Minister, could you advise what provisions have been made for support to victims in the ACT?
MS GALLAGHER: This is something that the government is watching very closely. I know that the Minister for Community Services has been in contact and, I think, has visited the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, as has Minister Rattenbury. I have certainly