Child safety campaigner Hetty Johnston.
Child safety campaigner Hetty Johnston.

Royal Commission to air "dirty little secrets"

BRAVEHEARTS founder Hetty Johnston said the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was a chance for organisations to air their dirty little secrets once-and-for-all.

The Royal Commission will hold public hearings in Queensland for the first time from today. 

The commission will specifically investigate the response by the Catholic Education Office in Toowoomba to allegations of child sexual abuse at St Saviour's Primary School in 2007.

It will also investigate the response by the principal and other members of staff at the school to the allegations.

It is expected the hearing will run for up to two weeks.

Ms Johnson said the royal commission was not only important for the people involved, but also for every child past, present and into the future.

"Child sexual abuse is now in the public domain," she said.

"For us at Bravehearts it is a culmination of 20-years worth of work to bring this issue to light."

Ms Johnson said the community had lived in denial about issues raised at the Royal Commission for far too long.

"It has been swept under the carpet and as a result has become a festering sore," she said.

"The damage it has caused is extreme and continues to claim lives on a daily basis.

"I am sure the organisations involved certainly do not want their 'brand' to come under scrutiny and their dirty little secrets put into light."

The Royal Commission was established on January 11 last year and was tasked with investigating how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

Former New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Peter McClellan was appointed chair of the commission alongside commissioners Bob Atkinson, Justice Jennifer Coate, Robert Fitzgerald, Professor Helen Milroy and Andrew Murray.

The commission is expected to hand-down their interim report before June 30.


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