The Morrison Government has continued to make significant progress during 2020 towards implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The progress is outlined in the third Annual Progress Report - tabled in Parliament today - which outlines the ongoing work to protect and improve the safety and wellbeing of children in institutions across the country.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, significant reforms were introduced including:
- The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Act 2020 became law. This law introduced new third party grooming offences, increased maximum penalties and introduced compulsory minimum sentences for the most serious Commonwealth child sex offences as well as for repeat offenders.
- The National Office for Child Safety updated the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework to improve transparency and accountability for Commonwealth organisations in their child safe cultures and practices. Commonwealth organisations will now need to publish an annual child safety statement.
- The Australian Government is leading work in partnership with the states and territories to develop an evaluation framework to inform a 10-year review of our progress and tell us how far we have gone in implementing the work of the Royal Commission.
- eSafety launched a new Toolkit for Schools, which supports schools to create safe online environments for their whole community.
- A further $104.6 million in funding across four years is being invested in the National Redress Scheme to improve and stabilise the Scheme’s operations and better support survivors to ensure the Scheme meets their expectations.
- The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, in Brisbane, was officially opened by the Minister for Home Affairs in October 2020.
The Government has committed to report annually until December 2022. As in 2018 and 2019, state and territory governments and some other non-government institutions will produce their own annual reports outlining their progress implementing recommendations which apply to them.
The safety of children is a responsibility all Australians share.
If anyone needs support, there is 24 hour telephone assistance available.
1800 Respect - 1800 737 732
Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
Lifeline - 13 11 14
MensLine Australia - 1300 789 978
The National Redress Information Line - 1800 737 377.
The progress report will be available here shortly after tabling: https://www.childabuseroyalcommissionresponse.gov.au/annual-progress-reporting/australian-government-reports