Media release: Tuesday, 23 October 2018
The National Archives of Australia has responded to recommendations in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by issuing a new Records Authority that requires Australian Government agencies to retain records relating to child sexual abuse incidents and allegations for at least 45 years.
This requirement to retain records for a minimum period of 45 years complies with recordkeeping recommendations in the Final Report of the Royal Commission 'to allow for delayed disclosure of abuse by victims and take account of limitation periods for civil actions for child sexual abuse'. Case records of children who have been in the care of, or received services from, an Australian Government institution are also to be retained for 100 years.
Director-General of the National Archives David Fricker says, 'The National Archives, through General Records Authority 41, ensures essential records are retained to provide access to evidence for survivors of child sexual abuse. The Authority also provides clarity for government about which records are relevant to child sexual abuse incidents and allegations.'
Also in response to recommendations in the Final Report of the Royal Commission, the National Archives has provided advice to Australian Government agencies on meeting the recommended principles for records and recordkeeping through its Information Management Standard, issued in 2017.
The Archives is also working collaboratively with government state and territory archives, through the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities, to provide guidance on identifying and managing records that may become relevant to an actual or alleged incident of child sexual abuse.
'The National Archives sets information policy and standards to assist Australian Government agencies to manage their records and enable access to evidence of the decisions of the Australian Government. This allows the government to demonstrate its integrity, accountability and transparency. It could be argued that nowhere is this more vital than in the protection of the most vulnerable members of our society, including our children,' said Mr Fricker.