Appendix E

Private sessions

This appendix comprises the guide that was provided to participants who engaged in private sessions with the Board of Inquiry Chair or Counsel Assisting. An explanation of the private session process can be found in Chapter 1, Establishment and approach(opens in a new window).

A guide to your private session

What is a private session?

A private session is a face-to-face or online meeting with a host from the Board of Inquiry where you can tell your story in a private and safe environment.

We will ask for your consent to record audio, so we can create a transcript that will help the work of the inquiry. We will also take notes during your session. You can decide if the information we gather is used anonymously or kept entirely confidential. You may also opt out of having your session audio recorded.

A private session usually runs for up to one hour.

Who will be there?

A private session will usually include the following people in the room:

  • yourself
  • any support person you bring (in addition to a legal representative)
  • the host
  • a Board of Inquiry staff member, who will take notes.

Counsellors will be available for you both before and after your private session if you wish to speak with them. Our schedule allows 10 minutes for a check-in before the session, and 45 minutes for a post-session debrief.

Please contact us if you require any further support.

Can I bring a support person?

Yes, you can bring a support person to your private session.

Your support person could be a family member or friend, in addition to your own counsellor or lawyer. They can come into the session or wait for you in a room close by.

If you decide to bring a support person into the room, their role will be to support you while you share your experiences with the host.

What do I need to prepare?

Before you attend your private session, it can help to prepare and think through what you would like to talk about. It can also be helpful to think about what you do not want to talk about. The host may ask questions to prompt you to share your story, but you are not obligated to answer or speak about anything you do not want to discuss.

You might like to think about:

  • what happened
  • if and how you reported the abuse
  • what the response to your report was
  • whether you accessed any support services
  • what has helped with your healing or would help you with it now.

How can I share information with the Board of Inquiry?

You can choose to share information with the Board of Inquiry on the basis that it may be:

  • Public — The information shared may be published, including the name of the individual, group or organisation.
  • Anonymous — You can request to provide information anonymously or using a pseudonym (a made-up name). The Board of Inquiry will keep a record of your identity, but it will not name or identify you as being the source of any information that it decides to make public (including in its report).
  • Confidential — You can request to provide some or all of your information confidentially. While your information will generally inform the Board of Inquiry’s work, the Board of Inquiry will not publish or quote the confidential information (including in its report). The Board of Inquiry may still be required to disclose confidential information if it is required to do so by law.

Can I bring documents with me?

Yes. If you have documents you would like to share with us, they can be provided prior to your session via email or you can bring them on the day.

Examples of supporting documents are:

  • police statements
  • letters
  • school reports
  • photographs.

If the documents are originals, copies will be made and the originals will be returned to you on the day of your private session. Electronic documents can be emailed to

If you wish to speak to any lawyer you might have before bringing documents, you are welcome to do so. You also do not need to give us the documents on the day if you do not wish to do so. You are welcome to attend the session and decide afterwards if there are any documents you wish to provide.

Information about your private session

Where can I find details about my private session?

Please refer to the email that was sent to you titled ‘Private session confirmation’ for the date, time and location of your session. If you are unable to find the email or have further questions, please contact us via phone on (03) 8301 0102 or email

Private session rooms

Private sessions are held in a small room around an oval-shaped table. The room is intended to make you feel safe and comfortable as you share your story.

What support is available to help me attend my private session?

If you need any financial assistance to travel to your private session, or for any other related expenses, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What will happen when I arrive?

When you arrive, walk down the brick pathway and enter the elevator lobby through the main entrance. Take an elevator up to Level 9, and when you exit a Board of Inquiry staff member will be waiting to greet you.

Water, tea and coffee will be available for you.

Contact us

If you have any questions at all about attending your private session or wish to discuss your specific needs, please contact us via phone on (03) 8301 0102 or by email on

For more information about the inquiry, please visit our website: