Final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was handed down on 15 December 2017 and is available from the Royal Commission’s website at: www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

The Final Report consists of 17 volumes plus a Preface and Executive summary of the Final Report.

In particular, Volume 8 of the Report, Recordkeeping and information sharing, examines the records, recordkeeping and information sharing practices of organisations that care for or provide services to children. It includes 23 recommendations, including recommendations relating to retention periods for records relating to allegations of child sexual abuse.

The NSW Government has established a taskforce to respond to the final report of the Royal Commission.

NSW State Archives and Records is working with the NSW Government Taskforce, and with the Federal and other State and Territory records authorities, regarding the Royal Commission’s recommendations for improving recordkeeping practices and the work needed to implement them. As part of this work we are conducting an audit of retention and disposal authorities to identify where any current minimum retention periods for records relating to child sexual abuse allegations would not meet the 45 year retention period recommended by the Royal Commission.

NSW State and local government agencies likely to be maintaining records relevant to the provision of care and services to children need to continue to be mindful of the work and recommendations of Commission when undertaking records disposal activities. This includes records of agencies:

* that have or have had responsibility for the provision of direct services to children and young people (e.g. schools, kindergartens, pre-school, after school, early childhood and childcare services, youth support services and detention centres, hospitals, health, disability, community and child welfare or protection services). This may also include agencies involved in the provision of educational activities and sporting programs for children and young people

* that have or have had responsibility for the funding, control, regulation, licencing, accreditation and oversight of services involved in the provision of services to children and young people (e.g. departments providing youth, family and community services, justice and education agencies, Children’s Guardian, complaints handling bodies such as NSW Ombudsman, etc., as well as local government)

* ​that have or have had responsibility for the receipt, investigation or prosecution of allegations.

The records of likely relevance are those concerned with:

* specific cases of abuse or allegations of abuse, particularly how it was handled within the agency or referred to other agencies

* agency policy and procedures for the handling of allegations or reports of abuse (including response, investigation or referral and follow-up).

Consideration may also need to be given to records relating to the service of employees, contractors and volunteers who may have been engaged in child or youth related employment.

Where an agency engages (or has engaged) other organisations to provide services relating to children and young people we recommend the agency should also liaise with these organisations to ensure they are aware of the Royal Commission’s final report and recommendations.

NSW State Archives and Records will continue to provide advice on this matter as appropriate.

February 2018