South Australia’s Royal Commission into Child Protection Systems has begun its formal work, calling for submissions from the public and organisations.
The inquiry, formed by the State Government this year after a series of disastrous failures in SA’s child protection system, is receiving submissions online or via the post.
Royal Commissioner Margaret Nyland called on anyone with information which may assist the inquiry to make a submission as soon as possible.
“The submissions we receive will assist us in determining what evidence will be required in future hearings,” Nyland said.
“We cannot accept submissions which are made anonymously, but written submissions can be made on a confidential basis and those submissions will not be disclosed unless required by law or court order.
“You may wish to approach a friend, family member of lawyer to assist you in making a submission.”
Royal Commission staff would also be available to help people make a submission.
She said submissions should address one or more of the topics outlined in the commission’s terms of reference, which include:
- The adequacy of the existing laws, policies, practices and procedures in place to protect children at risk of harm, including those adopted by Families SA and other relevant agencies.
- Improvements which may be made to current practices and procedures of Families SA and other relevant agencies.
- The means by which a child who may be at risk of harm is brought to the attention of relevant authorities and the assessment as to whether a child is at risk of harm.
- Whether the environment into which a child is placed, either on a short or long-term basis, is safe (for example, foster care and residential care).
- The assessment, management, training and supervision of persons who work and volunteer with children.
- The reporting, investigating and handling of complaints about care concerns.
Premier Jay Weatherill ordered the commission after allegations emerged of child abuse in a residential care facility, which he described as “unspeakable acts of evil committed against little children”.
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