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Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse was a five year long inquiry, held from 2012 to 2017, into Australian institutions responses to child sexual abuse and related matters.

During its inquiry the Royal Commission:

  • Handled 42,041 calls
  • Received 25,964 letters and emails
  • Conducted 8,013 private session, where Commissioner spoke with survivors
  • Conducted 50+ public hearings (case studies)
  • Conducted community consultation program
  • Conducted a research program

Sport and Recreation organisations at the Royal Commission

Many sport and recreation case studies were presented at the Royal Commission. 408 of survivors who spoke with the Commission experienced abuse in sport and recreation setting. 344 organisations identified during the Commission, as where abuse occurred, were sport and recreation organisations.

With regards to sport and recreation, some of the Royal Commission findings were:

Locations where abuse commonly occurred

  • Camps
  • Overnight competitions and excursions
  • Billeting and hosting arrangements
  • Travel arrangements
  • Change rooms and concealed or obscured environments
  • Public environments

Risk factors - grooming 

  • Coaching relationships
  • Inappropriate activity and adult material
  • Erosion of personal boundaries 
  • Targeting vulnerability 
  • Valuing performance over safety 

Risk factors - sporting cultures 

  • Normalised violence and harassment
  • Normalised sexual cultures 
  • Valuing adults over children 
  • High level of involvement

Factors that enabled sexual abuse in sport and recreation organisations  

  • Institutional leadership, governance and culture
     Unchecked and unaccountable leaders
    – Pursuit of excellence at any cost
    – Protection of reputation
    – Institutional cultures of physical abuse and bullying
  • Inadequate complaints management
  • Inadequate policies and procedures
  • Lack of education, training and communication of policies
  • Poor record keeping and information sharing

More information

7 lessons from the Royal Commission for sport

Volume 14 Final report:  Sport, recreation, arts, culture, community and hobby groups of the Royal Commission’s final reports