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Justice responses to the Royal Commission

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard evidence of shocking and appalling abuse perpetrated on children by the very people who were supposed to care for them.

The Royal Commission handed down 409 recommendations across a wide range of policy areas.

The NSW Government responded to the Royal Commission's final report in June 2018.

The NSW Government accepted the overwhelming majority of recommendations made by the Royal Commission and is now focusing on working with government and non-government organisations to take action to keep children safe.

You can keep up to date with the NSW Government's actions in response to the Royal Commission at www.nsw.gov.au/royalcommission.

This page contains information about the NSW Government's criminal and civil justice responses to the Royal Commission, the National Redress Scheme and other support services that are available for survivors of child sexual abuse.

Criminal justice reforms

The NSW Government has made numerous criminal justice reforms and introduced a number of programs to better protect children from sexual abuse and to bring perpetrators to account. These include the Child Sexual Offence Evidence Pilot, which commenced in 2016, and a suite of reforms implemented by the Criminal Legislation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse) Act 2018, which was passed by Parliament in June 2018.

NSW is also leading the nation with reforms to enable greater admissibility of tendency and coincidence evidence, including certain tendency evidence in child sexual assault proceedings. The reforms in the Evidence Amendment (Tendency and Coincidence) Act 2020 will commence on 1 July 2020.

Find out more about the Government's criminal justice responses from the links below.


Fact sheets

Civil justice reforms

The Royal Commission made 15 recommendations for reform to improve the capacity of civil litigation systems to provide justice to survivors. 

In 2016 the NSW Government implemented eight of these recommendations in two key reforms. The government removed limitation periods for civil compensation claims for child abuse. It also introduced guiding principles to ensure that NSW Government agencies take a compassionate and consistent approach in responding to civil claims for child abuse.

In October 2018, the NSW Parliament passed legislation to implement the remaining civil litigation recommendations. The legislation overcomes what is commonly known as the "Ellis defence" by ensuring all survivors can sue a proper defendant with sufficient assets to satisfy a child abuse claim. This "proper defendant" reform commences 1 January 2019, applying to past and future child abuse claims. The legislation also established two prospective statutory liabilities for child abuse to encourage institutions to do everything they can to prevent the abuse from happening in the first place. The statutory liabilities commenced on 26 October 2018.

Find out more about the Government's civil justice reforms from the links below.


Fact sheets

National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

NSW was one of the first two states to opt in to the National Redress Scheme. In May, NSW was the first state to pass legislation referring powers to the Commonwealth to establish the National Redress Scheme.

The scheme will run for 10 years from 1 July 2018 and includes a monetary payment of up to $150,000, access to free counselling and psychological support and a direct personal response from the participating institution or institutions responsible.

The National Redress Scheme is operated by the Commonwealth Government. You can find out more about the National Redress Scheme at www.nationalredress.gov.au.


Support services

For more information about services for victims of crime, please visit www.victimsservices.justice.nsw.gov.au.

These services are also available:

Support services

For more information about services for victims of crime, please visit the Victims Services website.

These services are also available:

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Lifeline: 13 11 14

1800 Respect: 1800 737 732

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

MensLine: 1300 78 99 78

In an emergency call Triple Zero: 000 


Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The NSW Government response to the Royal Commission