Force reluctant organisations to provide evidence or hand over documents.

Australia: Gillard's royal commission into child sex abuse has started - Comment on 2013 January 16

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In his first public statement as chair of the commission, judge Peter McClellan said the inquiry expected full co-operation and it would "not hesitate" to use its powers to force reluctant organisations to provide evidence or hand over documents. Read more:

Here the newest about Ms Gillard’s royal commission:

 

No hiding behind payouts for abuse: inquiry chief

The head of Julia Gillard's royal commission into child sex abuse has issued a fiery opening warning to churches, state governments and other institutions that he will not let them hide behind confidentiality agreements with their victims.

In his first public statement as chair of the commission, judge Peter McClellan said the inquiry expected full co-operation and it would "not hesitate" to use its powers to force reluctant organisations to provide evidence or hand over documents.

He also warned the public the task facing the commission was immense and it would take many months before they could even "gauge the full extent" of the work required to examine institutional responses to child sex abuse.

In his statement, Justice McClellan also acknowledged survivors would be "apprehensive" about airing claims publicly and the commission would look at different options for testimony to be recorded.

"This may mean that proceedings will take place in private, real names may not be used," he said. "However, wherever possible the commission will proceed in public."

Justice McClellan said the six commissioners would split up to take evidence, covering "the broadest geographical reach for our inquiries".

The inquiry was also establishing a research arm, hiring administrative staff, legal counsel and support staff as well as setting up a hotline for the victims of child sex abuse.

"There are many matters to be resolved and resources to be put in place before we can hold any public hearings," he said.

"It is not possible for us to identify when public sittings may commence."

The Prime Minister has given the commission until December 2015 to complete its inquiry, with an interim report expected by June 2014.

Justice Peter McClellan said that in order to run it as efficiently as possible, the Government would amend the Royal Commission Act to allow hearings to take place without all commissioners being present, and some hearings may need to be held in private to protect victims.

The commission would make arrangements for people currently living overseas to attend hearings where required, he said.

 

See
2012 Nov 12 - (3) – Politicians have church in sight
2012 Nov 15 – Australia: Catholic Church avoids reporting abuse
2012 Nov 24 (4) – Australia: Helpline flooded after church probe announced
2012 Nov 25 (2) – About 40 per cent of prison inmates have a background of child abuse
2012 Dec 21 –Australia: Child sex abuse Royal Commission
2012 Dec 24 (2) – The Australian Top Catholic
2013 Jan 11 (2) – Australia: Prime Minister announces the terms of reference for the royal commission into child sex abuse
2013 Jan 12 – Gillard is starting something really big in Australia
2013 Jan 16 – Australia: Gillard's royal commission into child sex abuse has started

 

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