Wannon MP Dan Tehan to be part of new response to royal commission into child sexual abuse as social services minister

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks as Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan looks on during a press conference to outline the government's formal response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks as Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan looks on during a press conference to outline the government's formal response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch

Wannon MP Dan Tehan will oversee part of the federal government’s latest response to the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Wednesday morning that he would apologise to victims to suffered abuse within institutions.

The government has accepted, in whole or in part, the 122 recommendations from the royal commission that fall within the federal jurisdiction.

A new national office for child safety will be established within the Department of Social Services, which falls within Mr Tehan’s portfolio as Social Services Minister.

Mr Tehan said the office will work with states and territories to progress the national framework for child safety and a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse.

“It will consult with stakeholders about a national prevalence study, which will look into incidents of child sex abuse and then what needs to be done to continually monitor that and ensure, that by implementing the recommendations, we are seeing a decrease and hopefully, in the end, the elimination of child sex abuse in this nation.”

The royal commission, which ran from January 2013 to December 2017, was told that a young boy suffered abuse at an Ararat church, which had catastrophic and life-long consequences for the victim.

As that testimony relates to an ongoing court case, Fairfax Media cannot publish further details.

In December 2015, retired Horsham priest Father Frank Madden told the royal commission that he accepted some responsibility for relocating notorious paedophile priest Gerard Ridsdale enabling him to continue to sexually abuse children for decades.

Fr Madden testified that the first time he learnt of Ridsdale's offending was in 1988, when he resigned as his assistant priest in Horsham after two years.

Mr Turnbull said the royal commission had revealed “shocking abuse of children” and had provided many people with their first chance to have their painful stories heard, acknowledged and believed.

“For too long, the reporting of this abuse was met with indifference and denial by the very adults and institutions that were supposed to protect them,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Today, the Attorney General, the Minister for Social Services, we pay tribute as we all should to the survivors and their families for their bravery, their honesty, their strength in coming forward; many speaking of this abuse for the first time.”

Mr Turnbull said testimony at the royal commission and meeting with survivors had given him a small insight into the betrayal of children by institutions.

“I will deliver a national apology to the survivors, victims and families of institutional child sexual abuse on October 22 here in Canberra,” Mr Turnbull said.

“The apology will coincide with Nationals Children’s Week, a date chose to bring together our acknowledgement of the past and our commitment to the future wellbeing and safety of children in Australia.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or abuse call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

If this article has raised any issues for you, call Lifeline on 131 114; Mensline on 1300 789 978; or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

This story Wannon MP to be part of new response to child sexual abuse first appeared on The Ararat Advertiser.