Commonwealth should scrutinise alleged SA child abuse
24th Jul 2014
The South Australian Government should invite the Commonwealth Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to investigate allegations of abuse in that state, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.
The call follows charges being laid against a South Australian government employee alleging sexual abuse against children being housed in state-run homes. Premier Jay Weatherall has called for a state Royal Commission into the issue.
ALA spokesperson Dr Andrew Morrison supported the call for an enquiry, but said that the best option would be to involve the Commonwealth Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, rather than set up an entirely new enquiry.
“The Australian Lawyers Alliance supports any enquiry into the allegations of child abuse in South Australia,” Dr Morrison said.
“However the best solution would be for the Commonwealth Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to be invited to investigate the issue. Our preference would be not to duplicate the existing Commonwealth proceedings with a new state enquiry.
“While the existing Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse is a Commonwealth enquiry, it also has State powers. It would be the appropriate body to investigate the circumstances of these latest allegations,” Dr Morrison said.
The Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating the abuse of children that occurred within institutions across Australia, and the responses of authorities to this abuse. Churches and non-government organisations have been implicated in the abuse.
“The work of the Royal Commission has shone light on a very dark part of Australian institutional history and its continued work is our best hope for major reform in this area,” Dr Morrison said.
“Through the Royal Commission, victims have been given a voice. Now, government needs to address the current obstacles to justice for victims and ensure that all victims of sexual abuse receive justice.”