Royal Commission: community asks questions

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse held a forum at the Bendigo town hall on Wednesday evening.

Loddon Campaspe Centre Against Sexual Assault chief executive Michael Beaumont-Connop said 90 to 100 people attended, with some travelling from Geelong, Echuca and Shepparton to attend.

Royal Commissioner Justice Jennifer Coate fielded questions from the community about the processes of the Royal Commission.

"People wanted to know things like what defined an institution," Mr Beaumont-Connop said.

"For instance, if someone who worked in an institution abused a child outside the institution, did the Royal Commission consider that to be part of their reference."

The answer from Justice Coates was yes, the Royal Commission would address this because it was an instance of a person using the institution to gain access to children. 

Mr Beaumont-Connop said many "intelligent and complex" questions were asked and he felt they were all answered satisfactorily by Justice Coate. 

He acknowledged the courage required for people to come to such an event and ask "questions that define their entire lives". 

He said the public forum was not for discussing the details of individual abuse cases but it was hard to avoid at times. 

"It's very difficult for people to ask a question without contextualising to a degree who they are and what happened to them."

He said the event was a great opportunity for people from the Loddon Campaspe region.


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