About the Royal Commission
On Friday 11 January 2013, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, appointed a six-member Royal Commission to investigate institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
The Royal Commission will inquire into how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.
It will investigate where systems have failed to protect children, and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions.
The Commissioners can look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children, including government agencies, schools, sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, and religious organisations.
This includes where they consider an organisation caring for a child is responsible for the abuse or for not responding appropriately, regardless of where or when the abuse took place.
The Hon. Justice Peter McClellan AM has been appointed Chair of the Commission. Justice McClellan, has held since 2005, one of the most senior judicial positions in the New South Wales judiciary as the Chief Judge at Common Law of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
The other five Commissioners are Mr Bob Atkinson AO APM, the former Queensland Police Commissioner, Justice Jennifer Coate, Family Court Judge and former Victorian Coroner and, Mr Robert Fitzgerald AM, Productivity Commissioner, Professor Helen Milroy, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and former Senator for Western Australia, Mr Andrew Murray.
The interim report of the Royal Commission was released on 30 June 2014. Pursuant to the recommendations of this report the original 3 year term of the Commission was extended until December 2017, with additional interim reports to be released on a date to be set.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse announced a public hearing involving St Paul’s Anglican School and the independent Brisbane Grammar School which commenced in Brisbane on November 3 2015.
The scope and purpose of the public hearing was to inquire into:
- The experience of former students of Brisbane Grammar School in Spring Hill, Queensland.
- The experience of former students at St Paul’s School in Bald Hills, Queensland.
- The response of the Board of Trustees, Headmasters and other members of staff of Brisbane Grammar School to complaints about the behaviour of Kevin Lynch, a former school counsellor at Brisbane Grammar School.
- The responses of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane, the School Council, Headmasters and other members of staff of St Paul’s School to concerns raised, or complaints made, about the behaviour of Kevin Lynch and Gregory Knight, former members of staff at St Paul’s School.
- The past and current systems, practices, policies and procedures in place at Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School in relation to raising and responding to concerns and complaints about child sexual abuse.
- The circumstances relating to Gregory Knight’s employment and registration as a teacher in Queensland.
- Any related matters.
The Anglican Diocese of Brisbane would like to take this opportunity to apologise again to survivors of abuse and express our sincere regret that abuse occurred.
The Church has compassion for all survivors of child abuse and remains focused on ensuring they receive the care and support they need. We pray for the survivors of abuse and their families.
We acknowledge the incredible courage, commitment and integrity of sexual abuse survivors who attend the public hearing in the hope of ensuring that others can be protected from the scourge of child sexual abuse.
Survivors of child sexual abuse are offered independent, professional counselling and a full and frank explanation of all options available, including the right to pursue criminal and civil actions in the courts, and information about the Church’s procedures.
The Royal Commission handed down the findings to this inquiry in February 2017. In a statement released by the Diocese, Anglican Schools Commission executive director Sherril Molloy said the report highlighted a devastating chapter in St Paul’s history from which many people were still struggling to recover.
Our thoughts and prayers remain with the survivors of this horrendous abuse whom we implore to come forward for care and assistance if they have yet to do so.
We now have a raft of measures in place to better protect children including at least two trained student protection officers in each school supported by a former police detective inspector, a current police detective senior constable and a former State Government senior child safety officer.
Anyone who has been abused, or knows of someone who has been abused, should call the Director of Professional Standards on 1800 242 544 so that support and assistance can be offered.
The Church also publicly confirms its support for the Royal Commission and its willingness to cooperate fully with the public hearing. Many senior leaders including Archbishop Aspinall participated in the most recent hearings held in March 2017.
It has been 13 years since Archbishop Aspinall called on the then Prime Minister to establish a Royal Commission, and the then Queensland Premier to hold a State Inquiry, into child sexual abuse.
In 2002 the Diocese launched its own independent Board of Inquiry into the past handling of complaints of sexual abuse in the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane. The report of the Inquiry was tabled in the Queensland Parliament.
The Church has a range of stringent policies and measures in place to protect students in Anglican schools in our Diocese.
These include, but are not limited to, the following requirements:
- Each school has two trained student protection officers who are supported by Marlene Norris, a former police Detective Inspector, who is employed as a child protection support officer in the Anglican Schools Commission;
- All potential employees must undergo screening and have the legislated requirements to work with children;
- The Director of Professional Standards at the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane undertakes background checks of all potential employees;
- It is mandatory for all school staff members to immediately report any and all allegations of child sexual abuse;
- Any employee who becomes aware or suspicious of child sexual abuse must immediately report the incident and provide a written report about the abuse to the Head of School or the Director of Professional Standards. The Head of School or Director of Professional Standards must immediately report the matter to the police.
Our child protection documents, including Student Protection in Anglican Schools Policy and Procedures 2015, are available in our resources and downloads hub.
For media enquiries, please contact our Director of Communication, Michael Corkill, on 0409 726 053.
For general information please contact the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse:
Child abuse is a crime. If you have been a victim of abuse, or are concerned about a child being abused, you should report your concerns to local police.
If you wish to make a complaint to the Anglican Church Southern Queensland, please click the button below.