Update on the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse

Measures passed by Parliament this week will give the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse flexibility to receive information and evidence in private sessions from those affected by child abuse in institutions.

Measures passed by Parliament this week will give the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse flexibility to receive information and evidence in private sessions from those affected by child abuse in institutions.

"Private sessions will enable people to tell their stories to a Commissioner voluntarily and in a closed hearing. A person giving information at a private session will have the same protections as would apply to a witness giving evidence at a hearing," said Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

"The Royal Commission will also put in place procedures to make clear how, and in what circumstances, information received at private sessions will be used and disclosed."

There will be no right of access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to documents containing information obtained at a private session. Records containing information obtained at a private session will also not be accessible under the Archives Act 1983 for 99 years after the year the record is created.

"The information shared by people will be sensitive and deeply personal and these measures will strengthen confidentiality," said Mr Dreyfus.

"It is important that people who tell their personal stories to the Commission feel comfortable with the way information will be used and disclosed."

The Royal Commission will hold its first sitting on Wednesday April 3 at the County Court of Victoria, 250 William Street, Melbourne at 10am.

All Commissioners will be present. The Chair, Justice McClellan AM, will provide information on the work of the Royal Commission including the future conduct of public and private hearings. Senior Counsel assisting will also deliver an opening statement. There will be no evidence taken at this sitting.

The sitting will be streamed live to the public via webcast onto the Commission's website at www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au. A transcript of the sitting will also be available on the Commission's website after the sitting.

For more information on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse call 1800 099 340 or go to the website.