Chapter 5

Children’s rights and safety in context

Introduction

This Chapter provides a brief overview of the extent to which children’s rights were recognised and their safety was protected in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s, and from the 1980s. It describes the status of children’s human rights under international law and the extent to which this influenced Australian domestic law and policy. It outlines the extent to which the child protection and criminal justice systems recognised and understood child abuse, including child sexual abuse. Finally, it considers the extent to which the education system recognised and guarded against the risk of sexual abuse of students by teachers.

Legislation and government policies relating to children’s rights and safety in the 1960s and 1970s

Children’s rights: in theory rather than practice

Despite the emergence of the global children’s rights movement in the early twentieth century, the Board of Inquiry heard expert evidence that there was little public discussion about children’s human rights in Australia in the 1960s.1

In 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959 Declaration).2 The 1959 Declaration established 10 principles for the protection of children, which expanded on the rights relating to the protection of children against neglect and harm outlined in an earlier Declaration of the Rights of the Child, developed by the League of Nations in 1924.3

However, the 1959 Declaration did not immediately influence the public consciousness in Australia. The evidence to the Board of Inquiry of Dr Katie Wright, Associate Professor, Department of Social Inquiry, La Trobe University, was that although attitudes were changing at this time, it ‘was not until later that children were widely viewed as rights bearers’.4

The limited understanding of children’s rights in the 1960s and 1970s is highlighted by the notion, dominant at the time, that children should be ‘seen, not heard’.5 The failure to recognise children as having rights also contributed, as Dr Wright explained in her evidence, to a culture where ‘children’s views and concerns were often dismissed’.6

By the late 1970s, awareness of children’s rights was building, prompted in part by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaiming the International Year of the Child in 1979.7

However, as discussed later in this Chapter, the Board of Inquiry heard expert evidence that it was not until 1990, with Australia’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), that children’s rights ‘came to the fore’.8

Limited awareness of child sexual abuse within the child protection system

While understandings of children’s rights in Australia were increasing by the late 1970s, child sexual abuse had not been a predominant focus of child protection or child welfare in the 1960s and 1970s.9 This reflected the community’s limited awareness of child sexual abuse during this time, as discussed in Chapter 6, Time and place(opens in a new window).

Various forms of ‘protection’ for children have existed in Australia since the early periods of colonisation. Initially, however, these focused more on ‘protecting’ the state from the ‘danger’ that neglected children were considered to pose to public order.10

From the early twentieth century, the concept of ‘protection’ shifted to protecting children from a failed duty of care by caregivers.11 Despite this shift, his Honour John Fogarty AM (writing extra-judicially) said that ‘even then, in reality, society was concerned with saving itself from the public actions of abused and deserted children, and especially the protection of property’.12

State-sanctioned ‘child protection’ laws and policies enabled governments, churches and other welfare bodies to forcibly remove First Nations children from their families, creating Australia’s Stolen Generations.13 These laws and policies, which began as early as the mid-1800s and continued into the 1970s, inflicted ‘profound grief, loss and suffering’ on First Nations children and families, and the broader Australian community.14 The legacy of these practices endures today.15

With regard to child sexual abuse, Professor Leah Bromfield, Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection and Chair of Child Protection, University of South Australia, explained that early conceptualisations of child welfare and child protection did not encompass child sexual abuse.16 The child protection system primarily focused on child neglect and physical abuse.17

During the mid-1960s, there was emerging public attention regarding child abuse.18 This was partly due to a study in the United States of America on child maltreatment by C Henry Kempe and others, published in 1962, which significantly influenced understandings of physical child abuse.19 The study identified ‘battered child syndrome’, which characterises a condition in children who have received serious physical abuse, ‘generally from a parent or foster parent’.20 It led to a heightened focus on familial physical child abuse, and influenced both professional and community understandings of physical child abuse.21

In Victoria, it appears that it was only from the mid-1970s that child sexual abuse was considered in child protection practices. In 1971, the Victorian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which was founded in 1896, was renamed to their Children’s Protection Society.22 The Society, then a non-government organisation, was responsible for receiving reports about child abuse and neglect.23 It started recording data related to child sexual abuse in 1975.24 Professor Bromfield provided evidence to the Board of Inquiry stating that this demonstrated that ‘public discourse was beginning to acknowledge child sexual abuse as an area of concern’.25

The Victorian Government took over the functions of the Society in 1985.26

Inadequate responses to child sexual abuse in the criminal justice system

Since Australia’s early colonial period, beginning in the late 1700s, the legal system has criminalised the sexual assault of children in some form.27 This criminalisation included laws that prohibited ‘forced sodomy’ of boys and ‘forcible rape’ of girls aged under 10,28 and the updating of colonial laws regarding the legal age of consent in the 1880s and 1890s to reflect amendments in England and the United States of America.29

Professor Lisa Featherstone, Head of School, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, University of Queensland, provided evidence that although child sexual abuse was not widely discussed in the 1960s and 1970s, it was generally understood to be morally and criminally wrong.30 Similarly, the Board of Inquiry received evidence from Professor Michael Salter, Professor of Criminology, School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, that society was not necessarily ignorant about child sexual abuse at the time; rather, society and institutions upheld systems and structures that prevented people from understanding and discussing child sexual abuse.31

Victoria’s criminal law relating to child sexual abuse was highly gendered until the 1980s.32 Professor Daryl Higgins, Director, Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University, provided evidence that up until 1981, the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (Crimes Act) gendered sexual abuse in several ways,33 including by incorporating:

  • a crime of sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 10, with no corresponding crime relating to boys of the same age.34 The maximum penalty for this crime was 20 years imprisonment35
  • a crime of sexual abuse of a girl between the age of 10 and 16 (noting that the age of consent was 16), with no corresponding crime relating to boys of the same age.36 The maximum penalty for this crime was 10 years imprisonment.37

Professor Higgins also provided evidence that it was not until 1964 that the Crimes Act included ‘offences for sexual conduct between boys and male adults’.38

The Crimes Act also criminalised homosexuality, which was referred to at the time as ‘buggery’.39 The term ‘buggery’ was derived from the Buggery Act 1533 in England, which criminalised all forms of sexual intercourse between men.40 As a result of this derivation, anti-homosexual laws tended to stay silent regarding women.41 Under the Crimes Act, homosexuality carried a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment if the victim was under 14 years of age, or if the incident involved the use of violence and was non-consensual.42 Society’s prevailing homophobia in the 1960s and 1970s complicated the shame many boys felt after being sexually abused by male perpetrators.43 In Professor Salter’s statement, he described how ‘homophobia … was a bar to boys disclosing child sexual abuse’ as they may be ‘blamed’ and placed ‘under suspicion for homosexuality’.44

Successfully prosecuting a case of child sexual abuse was very difficult. The criminal justice system at the time largely perceived children as ‘unreliable witnesses’.45 Juries were asked to consider a child’s age and reliability throughout the court process.46 The common law required judges to advise the jury about the dangers of relying on a child’s evidence.47

The difficulties associated with prosecuting child sexual abuse cases were probably reflective of misconceptions about sexual abuse that remained prevalent in the broader community. For example, the Board of Inquiry heard expert evidence that it was commonly believed in the 1960s and 1970s that children had ‘imagined’ or ‘fantasised’ experiences of child sexual abuse.48 Social attitudes often saw children as highly impressionable and prone to incorrectly recalling information.49 Complaints about child sexual abuse were met by a mindset that framed children as ‘manipulative’.50 In the criminal justice system, prosecution of child sexual abuse offences in Australia sometimes cast children ‘in the role of tempter or temptress’.51 Adults were far more likely to be believed by the general public over a child, particularly if those adults were respected by the community.52

The criminal justice system gave greater weight to evidence from other witnesses that validated or corroborated a victim-survivor’s account.53 Yet, even in cases where several children made similar allegations, the criminal justice system restricted the inclusion of evidence that might suggest a pattern of behaviour from an alleged perpetrator, often referred to as ‘tendency’ and ‘coincidence’ evidence.54 This made it difficult for lawyers to rely on multiple charges or allegations to strengthen their case against an alleged offender.55

Professor Bromfield explained that ‘the cards were stacked against children every step of the way’.56 In her opinion, the criminal justice system at the time overwhelmingly advantaged perpetrators over victim-survivors,57 which may have influenced perpetrators to believe that ‘they could abuse children without fear of consequence’.58

It is likely that many allegations of child sexual abuse were never even reported to the police. Professor Featherstone explained that from the 1960s to the 1980s, ‘the most common response to a disclosure of child sexual abuse was to attempt to remove the child from immediate danger, but not report [the allegation] through the criminal justice system’.59 Professor Featherstone gave evidence that it was ‘very rare for institutions to involve the criminal justice system’.60

Lack of adequate regulation and oversight of teachers with respect to child sexual abuse

The evidence received by the Board of Inquiry made it clear that there was a lack of adequate regulation and oversight of teachers in Australian schools with respect to child sexual abuse, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s. As Professor Featherstone explained in her witness statement:

There was a basic view that schools should be a safe place for children, however people did not actively think about the ways in which children in schools could be protected. There was little emphasis at all on child protection, especially beyond physical abuse.61

Professor Salter’s evidence to the Board of Inquiry was that Australian schools in the 1960s and 1970s were not ‘alive to the risk of child sexual abuse’.62 Professor Higgins’s evidence was that, in school settings during that time, there were no policies to ‘deal with allegations of child sexual abuse’ and there was ‘no prevention culture’.63 Professor Higgins noted that there was a ‘complete silencing of the possibility’ that child sexual abuse could be perpetrated within schools.64

In Victoria, child sexual abuse was largely absent from the education system’s policy settings and school curriculums during the 1960s and 1970s. However, there were some reviews highlighting (among other things) failings in the education system’s protection of children.65

In 1971, for example, a Victorian Board of Inquiry into Certain Aspects of the State Teaching Service considered matters relating to teacher qualifications and mechanisms to resolve complaints about teacher conduct.66 The 1971 Board of Inquiry made recommendations related to the responsibilities of the Department of Education’s Director-General in dealing with teacher misconduct, and considered the circumstances in which teachers would be provided with legal representation.67 However, the report did not make any references to the needs of children affected by teacher misconduct or the support that may be necessary for them. There was no discussion at all of the risk of child sexual abuse by teachers.

The lack of regulation and oversight in the 1960s and 1970s in respect of child sexual abuse by teachers in Victorian government schools is discussed in further detail in Chapter 10, The education system(opens in a new window).

The risk to children created by this regulatory failure was heightened by social attitudes towards schools and teachers. Schools were highly trusted institutions in the 1960s and 1970s. Further, families were generally deferential to principals and teachers. Teachers held ‘institutional authority’, and schools were often built around hierarchical structures that upheld that institutional authority.68

The power dynamics between teachers or other school staff and their students made children ‘particularly vulnerable’ to institutional child sexual abuse.69 Dr Wright provided evidence that as a result of these power imbalances, children were deferential to teachers who ‘could exert considerable power over children’.70

Legislation and government policies relating to children’s rights and safety from the 1980s

Children’s rights moving from passive protection to empowerment

Internationally, awareness of children’s rights continued to evolve throughout the 1980s.71 In late 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Convention).72 The Convention became the ‘first binding instrument in international law concerning the rights of children, and the most universally ratified human rights treaty in history’.73 It marked a global shift from seeing children as passive and in need of protection to a view of childhood in which children are ‘empowered and independent’.74

The Convention explicitly required governments to implement measures to protect children from sexual abuse.75 A shift in the concept of children’s rights was demonstrated in the underlying principle in the Convention that the ‘best interests of the child’ should be a ‘primary consideration’ in all actions concerning children.76 This principle was codified in Victoria in the Children and Young Persons Act 1989 (Vic).77

Australia ratified the Convention on 17 December 1990.78 The Board of Inquiry heard evidence that after Australia became a signatory, children’s rights were more widely accepted and discussed across Australian society.79

Embedding the Convention and its principles into Australian law has been a long and complex process that continues today.80 The Commonwealth Government is often criticised for how it has translated the Convention into domestic law, policy and practice.81 In 2018, the Australian Child Rights Taskforce’s report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child described Australia’s approach to protecting and promoting the rights of the child as established in the Convention as ‘fragmented, ad hoc and reactive’.82

Increased government intervention to respond to child sexual abuse

In 1969, South Australia became the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce mandatory reporting laws, and most other states and territories had introduced similar laws by the mid-1980s. These laws require certain persons to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to the authorities and were a significant step in the protection of children against abuse.

In the 1980s, Australian police saw an increase in reports of child sexual abuse. This was probably a result of heightened societal awareness arising from revelations of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.83 Australian policing organisations started establishing the first child abuse investigation teams around this time; however, police responses to allegations of child sexual abuse in institutions made by children ‘did not universally improve’.84

In Victoria, child protection only became a government responsibility in 1985, when the Victorian Government took over the functions of the Children’s Protection Society.85

Further, Victoria did not introduce mandatory reporting laws until 1993.86 In 1993, mandatory reporters in Victoria included medical practitioners, nurses and police officers.87 Teachers were subsequently included as mandatory reporters from 1994.88

Growing understanding of the scale and impact of child sexual abuse

During the 1980s and 1990s, an increasing ‘wave of public inquiries’ across the world began examining experiences of institutional child sexual abuse.89 Professor Featherstone described these as impacting the ‘domestic view’, and referred to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) as a ‘turning point’, where ‘survivors were asked and heard’.90

There was a significant rise in public awareness of the systemic nature of institutional child sexual abuse that had remained hidden for decades, particularly in relation to child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.91

Professor Salter, in his statement to the Board of Inquiry, explained that public inquiries in the late twentieth century perceived child sexual abuse through an ‘individualised, psychological’ lens and overlooked the social determinants of sexual abuse.92 During the 1990s, for example, the courts and the media often continued to position victim-survivors as having experienced ‘false memories’ of child sexual abuse.93 More recent inquiries in the twenty-first century, such as the Royal Commission, were considered ground-breaking in reframing the systemic and structural drivers of institutional child sexual abuse.

Victim-survivor activism and targeted media exposure drove widespread recognition of the abuses many children experienced within institutions.94 Revelations of institutional abuse can result in a loss of public trust in institutions.95 However, the Board of Inquiry heard evidence that parents did not necessarily start questioning whether their children were unsafe at school.96 It was not until relatively recently that public inquiries increasingly examined experiences of child sexual abuse in educational settings. For example:

  • In 2013, the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations detailed experiences of child abuse within non-government schools and early education centres.97
  • In 2013, the South Australian Independent Education Inquiry 2012–2013 examined the failure of the South Australian Department of Education to inform the Largs Bay Primary School community about an employee of an out-of-school care service, who was convicted of sexually abusing a child in his care in 2010.98
  • In 2017, the Royal Commission demonstrated how schools, among other institutions, had failed to protect children against child sexual abuse.99
  • In 2021, the Independent Inquiry into the Tasmanian Department of Education’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that from the 1970s to the 1990s, the Tasmanian Department of Education protected itself from the legal, financial and reputational risks it associated with complaints about child sexual abuse.100
  • In 2023, the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings heard that for some victim-survivors, the Tasmanian Department of Education’s response to disclosures of child sexual abuse worsened and prolonged the effects of the abuse they had experienced in government schools.101

These inquiries add to the groundswell of victim-survivor testimony detailing horrific experiences of child sexual abuse within Australian schools and systemic failures in responding to such abuse. They illustrate the stark reality that the experiences of victim-survivors of child sexual abuse at Beaumaris Primary School and other government schools, which are the subject of this inquiry, are not isolated events.

Chapter 5 Endnotes

  1. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 4 [15]; Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-40 [10].
  2. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child, GA Res 1386 (XIV), UN Doc A/RES/14/1386 (20 November 1959); Antonia Quadara, Framework for Historical Influences on Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: 1950–2014 (Report, December 2017) 15 .<https://aifs.gov.au/research/commissioned-reports/framework-historical-influences-institutional-child-sexual-abuse-1950-2014>(opens in a new window)
  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child, GA Res 1386 (XIV), UN Doc A/RES/14/1386 (20 November 1959); Hayley Boxall, Adam M Tomison and Shann Hulme, Historical Review of Sexual Offence and Child Sexual Abuse Legislation in Australia: 1788–2013 (Report, 1 September 2014) 7.
  4. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 4 [15].
  5. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 4 [15].
  6. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 4 [15].
  7. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 5 [19]; Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-40 [16]–[21].
  8. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 5 [19].
  9. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 6 [25].
  10. Shurlee Swain, History of Child Protection Legislation (Report, October 2014) 6.
  11. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 2, 239.
  12. John F Fogarty, ‘Some Aspects of the Early History of Child Protection in Australia’ (2008) 78 Family Matters 52, 54.
  13. ‘The Stolen Generations’, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 13 July 2023 (Web Page) <https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/stolen-generations>(opens in a new window); Antonia Quadara, Framework for Historical Influences on Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: 1950–2014 (Report, December 2017) 15; Reconciliation Australia, ‘Let’s Talk …: The Apology’ (Web Document, 5 February 2018) 1 <https://www.reconciliation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Lets-Talk...Apology.pdf>(opens in a new window).
  14. Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister, ‘Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples’ (Speech, House of Representatives, Parliament House, 13 February 2008).
  15. Reconciliation Australia, ‘Let’s Talk …: The Apology’ (Web Document, 5 February 2018) 2–3 <https://www.reconciliation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Lets-Talk...Apology.pdf>(opens in a new window).
  16. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 4 [19]; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-55 [37]–[38].
  17. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 4 [19]; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-55 [30]–[32].
  18. Henry Kempe et al, ‘The Battered-Child Syndrome’ (1962) 181(1) Journal of the American Medical Association 17; Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-38 [38]–[39].
  19. Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-38 [33]–[38]; Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 5 [22].
  20. Henry Kempe et al, ‘The Battered-Child Syndrome’ (1962) 181(1) Journal of the American Medical Association 17, 17; Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-38 [34]–[36].
  21. Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-38 [36]–[37]; Kim Oates and Anne Donnelly, ‘Influential Papers in Child Abuse’ (1997) 21(3) Child Abuse & Neglect 319, 319; Antonia Quadara, Framework for Historical Influences on Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: 1950–2014 (Report, December 2017) 19.
  22. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 5 [24]; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-55 [33]–[34]; ‘Children’s Protection Society (1971–2018)’, Find and Connect (Web Page) [1] <https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000115>(opens in a new window).
  23. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 5 [24]; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-55 [33]–[35], P-56 [19]–[22].
  24. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 5–6 [24]; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-56 [24]–[30]; Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 2, 245; Antonia Quadara, Framework for Historical Influences on Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: 1950–2014 (Report, December 2017) 22.
  25. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 6 [24].
  26. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 6 [26].
  27. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 5 [20]; Hayley Boxall, Adam M Tomison and Shann Hulme, Historical Review of Sexual Offence and Child Sexual Abuse Legislation in Australia: 1788–2013 (Report, 1 September 2014) 3–4.
  28. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 2, 235; Hayley Boxall, Adam M Tomison and Shann Hulme, Historical Review of Sexual Offence and Child Sexual Abuse Legislation in Australia: 1788–2013 (Report, 1 September 2014) 4.(Report, 1 September 2014) 4.
  29. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 2, 238.2, 238.
  30. Statement of Lisa Featherstone, 5 December 2023, 3 [14].
  31. Statement of Michael Salter, 27 November 2023, 5 [19].
  32. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 7 [30]; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-60 [10]–[13].
  33. Statement of Daryl Higgins, 27 November 2023, 4 [23].
  34. Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 46, later amended by the Crimes (Sexual Offences) Act 1980 s 5; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-60 [15]–[19]; Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 7 [30].
  35. Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 46, later amended by the Crimes (Sexual Offences) Act 1980 (Vic) s 5.
  36. Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 48(1), later amended by the Crimes (Sexual Offences) Act 1980 (Vic) s 5; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-60 [19]–[24]; Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 7 [30].
  37. Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 48(1), later amended by the Crimes (Sexual Offences) Act 1980 (Vic) s 5.
  38. Statement of Daryl Higgins, 27 November 2023, 4 [22].
  39. Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 68(1), later amended by the Crimes (Sexual Offences) Act 1980 (Vic) s 5.
  40. Sydney Criminal Lawyers, ‘The Historical Offence of Homosexuality in Australia’, Lexology (online, 2 October 2020) <https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=632e5cbd-7b38-4695-b8b8-43c4e601a90d>.(opens in a new window)
  41. Sydney Criminal Lawyers, ‘The Historical Offence of Homosexuality in Australia’, Lexology (online, 2 October 2020) <https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=632e5cbd-7b38-4695-b8b8-43c4e601a90d>(opens in a new window).
  42. Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 68(1), later amended by the Crimes (Sexual Offences) Act 1980 (Vic) s 5; Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 7 [30(e)]; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-60 [28]–[30].
  43. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-60 [34]–[39]; Statement of Daryl Higgins, 28 November 2023, 4 [24].
  44. Statement of Michael Salter, 27 November 2023, 2 [8].
  45. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 7 [32]; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-61 [8]– [10].
  46. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-61 [10]–[11]; Australian Law Reform Commission, Uniform Evidence Law (Report No 109, 2010) [18.55].(Report No 109, 2010) [18.55].
  47. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 2, 238–9; Australian Law Reform Commission, Uniform Evidence Law (Report No 109, 2010) [18.55].(Report No 109, 2010) [18.55].
  48. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-61 [11]–[13]; Australian Law Reform Commission, Uniform Evidence Law (Report No 109, 2010) [18.55].(Report No 109, 2010) [18.55].
  49. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 2, 238–9.
  50. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 2 [11].
  51. Mark Finnane and Yorick Smaal, ‘Some Questions of History: Prosecuting and Punishing Child Sexual Assault’ in Mark Finnane and Yorick Smaal (eds), The Sexual Abuse of Children (Monash University Publishing, 2016) 5.
  52. Statement of Lisa Featherstone, 5 December 2023, 3 [16].
  53. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-61 [11]–[14]; Lisa Featherstone and Amanda Kaladelfos, Sex Crimes in the Fifties (Melbourne University Publishing, July 2016) 98.
  54. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 7 [32]; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-61 [16]–[18].
  55. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-61 [16]–[18]; Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 7 [32].
  56. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-61 [27]–[28].
  57. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-61 [30]–[31].
  58. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-61 [32]–[33].
  59. Statement of Lisa Featherstone, 5 December 2023, 5 [26].
  60. Statement of Lisa Featherstone, 5 December 2023, 6 [33].
  61. Statement of Lisa Featherstone, 5 December 2023, 7 [35].
  62. Statement of Michael Salter, 27 November 2023, 7 [23].
  63. Statement of Daryl Higgins, 28 November 2023, 3 [18], 10 [50].
  64. Statement of Daryl Higgins, 28 November 2023, 3 [19].
  65. Statement of Katie Wright, ‘Attachment KW-5’, 23 October 2023; Victoria Education Commission, First Report of the Royal Commission Appointed to Enquire into and Report upon the Administration, Organisation and General Condition of the Existing System of Public Instruction; Together with a Portion of the Minutes of Evidence (1882); Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 5 [22].
  66. Board of Inquiry into Certain Aspects of the State Teaching Service (Report, 7 September 1971) 5.
  67. Board of Inquiry into Certain Aspects of the State Teaching Service (Report, 7 September 1971) 37.
  68. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 9 [41].
  69. Statement of Lisa Featherstone, 5 December 2023, 6 [34].
  70. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 9 [41].
  71. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 7 [28]; Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-41 [15]–[19].
  72. Convention on the Rights of the Child, opened for signature 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990); Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-40 [23]–[27].
  73. June Simon, Ann Luetzow and Jon Conte, ‘Thirty Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Developments in Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation’ (2020) 110 (Part 1) Child Abuse & Neglect 1, 1.
  74. Megan Mitchell, ‘Children’s Rights in Australia: Looking Back and Moving Forward’, Australian Human Rights Commission (Speech, 21 June 2019) <https://humanrights.gov.au/about/news/speeches/childrens-rights-australia-looking-back-and-moving-forward>(opens in a new window).
  75. Convention on the Rights of the Child, opened for signature 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990) arts 3, 19, 34.
  76. Convention on the Rights of the Child, opened for signature 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990) art 3.
  77. See e.g.: the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and the Children and Young Persons Act 1989 (Vic), various sections.
  78. Philip Alston and Glen Brennan (eds), The UN Children’s Convention and Australia (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, ANU Centre for International and Public Law and Australian Council of Social Services, 1991) iii; Antonia Quadara, Framework for Historical Influences on Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: 1950–2014 (Report, December 2017) 26.
  79. Statement of Katie Wright, 23 October 2023, 5 [19]; Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-40 [23]–[27].
  80. See commentary on Australia’s application of the Convention of the Rights of the Child into domestic legislation in United Nations, General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Australia, Forty-seventh session, 21 June – 9 July 2021, Agenda item 6, A/HRC/47/8., Forty-seventh session, 21 June – 9 July 2021, Agenda item 6, A/HRC/47/8.
  81. Philip Alston and Glen Brennan (eds), The UN Children’s Convention and Australia (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, ANU Centre for International and Public Law and Australian Council of Social Services, 1991) iii–iv.
  82. Australian Child Rights Taskforce, The Children’s Report: Australia’s NGO Coalition Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2018) 9.
  83. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 2, 75. , 75.
  84. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 2, 249., 249.
  85. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 6 [26].
  86. Ben Mathews, Mandatory Reporting Laws for Child Sexual Abuse in Australia: A Legislative History (Report, August 2014) 10.
  87. Ben Mathews, Mandatory Reporting Laws for Child Sexual Abuse in Australia: A Legislative History (Report, August 2014) 10; Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-57 [20]–[25]; Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 6 [23]–[26]; Child Protection Victoria, Health and Community Services, ‘Reporting Child Abuse’ (Fact Sheet, November 1993).
  88. Ben Mathews, Mandatory Reporting Laws for Child Sexual Abuse in Australia: A Legislative History (Report, August 2014) 10.
  89. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-67 [22]–[26]; Katie Wright, ‘Remaking Collective Knowledge: An Analysis of the Complex and Multiple Effects of Inquiries into Historical Institutional Child Abuse’ (2017) 27 Child Abuse & Neglect 10, 11.
  90. Statement of Lisa Featherstone, 5 December 2023, 4 [22].
  91. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-67 [29]–[35]; Antonia Quadara, Framework for Historical Influences on Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: 1950–2014 (Report, December 2017) 26.
  92. Statement of Michael Salter, 27 November 2023, 3 [10].
  93. Statement of Michael Salter, 27 November 2023, 3 [10].
  94. Katie Wright, ‘Remaking Collective Knowledge: An Analysis of the Complex and Multiple Effects of Inquiries into Historical Institutional Child Abuse’ (2017) 27 Child Abuse & Neglect 10, 10.
  95. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 14 [72].
  96. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-67 [28]–[29].
  97. Family and Community Development Committee, Parliament of Victoria, Betrayal of Trust: Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations (Final Report, November 2013) vol 1, 56 [3.3.2], 148 [6.5.3].(Final Report, November 2013) vol 1, 56 [3.3.2], 148 [6.5.3].
  98. Independent Education Inquiry 2012–2013 (Final Report, June 2013) 1 [1], 13 [48]. (Final Report, June 2013) 1 [1], 13 [48].
  99. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) Preface and Executive Summary, 5.
  100. Stephen Smallbone and Tim McCormack, Independent Inquiry into the Tasmanian Department of Education’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, 7 June 2021) 74.
  101. Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings (Final Report, September 2023) vol 3, vol 326.

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