Over the course of several months, our inquiry heard from and listened to many brave individuals — men and women of different ages and from a range of backgrounds. They came forward for a common reason. Each wanted to share with us their experience of child sexual abuse in Beaumaris Primary School and certain other government schools during the 1960s to 1990s. Some were primary victim-survivors. Others were loved ones of those victim-survivors, or community members who had been affected by the experience of child sexual abuse. Each had a story to tell that had long been hidden away but was now being shared in order to contribute to the work of this inquiry. They wanted others to know what had happened, to understand more about the ‘whole picture’, and for the community to learn from the experiences they shared.

I want to extend my gratitude to everyone who came forward to share their stories with us, placing their trust in us and in our work. You are the voices that government heard and responded to when it established this inquiry.

We could not have fulfilled our mandate without people placing their trust in this process and sharing some of their most painful and vulnerable experiences to form part of an important and enduring public record. We remain indebted to all who contributed, whether through private sessions, submissions, public hearings or information conveyed over the phone or email. The breadth of participants and information gathered was significant and came from victim-survivors, secondary victims, affected community members, practitioners, services, community organisations, researchers and academics.

I spent many hours in private sessions with victim-survivors and secondary victims. I will never forget the people I met and the stories shared with me. The entire Board of Inquiry staff and I acknowledge both the privilege and responsibility in receiving such deeply personal accounts. To the victim-survivors unable to participate in this process (or choosing not to do so), we acknowledge your absence and the weight of your unspoken stories.

From the avenues we created for people to engage with us, to how we ran our private sessions and public hearings, we have endeavoured to do things differently — to operate in ways that provide victim-survivors with a safe space in which to share their experiences, rather than inadvertently causing more harm. We took that step because we understood we had been afforded an opportunity, both by the Terms of Reference and the flexible nature of a board of inquiry, to be responsive to victim-survivors in ways that best suited their needs.

The Terms of Reference underscored a crucial distinction — this inquiry was not solely about enabling accountability, but also about giving voice to victim-survivors, allowing them to share their experiences and engage in a process of truth-telling. Our work aimed to provide healing for individuals and families, a dimension often absent in formal court proceedings and practices within the justice system.

I have been humbled by the overwhelming feedback we have received that indicates this process has helped many people in different ways. I know that the contribution of this Board of Inquiry is to be found in the healing experienced by those who participated, not just in the words of this report.

While healing can mean many things, in my time as Chair I have observed some crucial and common themes. I heard repeatedly how challenging it has been for people to heal when they have not received answers to questions about the experiences of child sexual abuse they have disclosed. I want to emphasise the importance of victim-survivors being supported to understand and, wherever possible, access information that may assist them. Information transparency plays a significant role in institutional accountability and in an individual’s healing.

I address this and other issues in my recommendations. Chairing this inquiry has reinforced to me the value of creating safe spaces for victim-survivors to share their experiences and be listened to, and the importance of support services being accessible and effective.

Finally, I want to recognise the many individuals who united behind the scenes to establish and deliver this inquiry. The calibre of people contributing to this work — from their expertise to their resilience and deep empathy — was outstanding. I recognise these individuals in my acknowledgements. Thank you.