How to start the process of giving evidence at the Royal Commission

the process of giving evidence

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So you’ve decided you are ready to give evidence at the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.

You probably have next to no idea what to do next.

Don’t worry, it’s not complicated or difficult. We’ll walk you through the process and help you understand what to expect.


Who do you contact first when you decide to give evidence at the Royal Commission?

You need to contact the Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission often has a long waiting list, so it is important to make sure they have your details on file as soon as you decide you are ready to give evidence.

It is also important to contact a solicitor to guide you through the process.

The team here at Kelso’s are experts in the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. Peter and his team will listen to your story, advise you on the journey ahead, and explain what to expect in simple terms.

I’m working closely with the Royal Commission, so I know what institutions and individuals are in the spotlight at different times. If I can see that the timing is right to present evidence from your case, I will be able to act quickly.I might also be able to include your case in a class action, when I’m working for a group of people who have had similar experiences with the same institution. Getting our timing right can help put us in a more powerful position to negotiate appropriate compensation.

Peter outlines a few of the other reasons why you should share your story with the Kelso’s team to start your journey to justice.

It’s hard to go it alone. The process of giving evidence to the Royal Commission can be hard to manage without expert help. You should contact a solicitor you trust as soon as possible.


What you need from your solicitor during the Royal Commission

A good solicitor will take care of your case for you so that you can concentrate on steeling yourself to overcome your emotions and focus on telling your story.

A great solicitor will make sure the process is as stress free and simple as possible. You shouldn’t have to worry about the strategy of your case or the prospect of unexpected questions from the defence. Your solicitor will make sure you say everything you want to say, setting your case up to achieve your goals, whether that be compensation, justice or a simple apology.

The best solicitor will become a genuine personal friend. The emotional roller coaster of confronting your demons is intense, but the best solicitors will be there for you through the best and toughest of times.


How do you contact the Royal Commission?

Register your interest in telling your story to the Royal Commission by:

The Royal Commission will respond with an email or letter, confirming it has received your details.


When should you contact the Royal Commission?

The Royal Commission is going to run for several years, so there is no need to panic. But it is important to remember that it won’t run forever and now represents a golden opportunity to be heard and make a difference.

Now there is momentum and a culture of belief. The Royal Commission and the general public now believe, without any doubt, that there were offenders in institutions who were serial abusers of children.

There is also support, counselling, government-funded legal representation and a good chance that your evidence will later help you to achieve appropriate compensation.

We’ve seen people who have struggled to give evidence receive a standing ovation at the Royal Commission.

Watching their faces, as they’re cheered by those listening shows that now is the best time we’ve ever had to come forward.


 How do I contact the Kelso’s Team for help?

To find out whether you might be entitled to compensation, even if you’ve received compensation before, visit Kelso Lawyers and fill out the short form which will come through directly to Peter Kelso and his team.

You don’t need to provide lots of detail. In a few words, tell us:

  • whether you were sexually abused
  • who abused you
  • how old you were at the time
  • when the abuse occurred
  • where the abuse occurred

If you don’t feel comfortable using the internet, you can call Peter’s office to answer these questions briefly over the phone (free call 1800 650 707).

You will receive an automated message to confirm we have received your details.

If we need to clarify anything with you, one of our experienced team members will be in touch. They won’t ask in-depth questions about your experience. We just need to make sure we completely understand the details you have already provided.

If Peter thinks we can help you achieve compensation, we will be in touch to organise a phone conference, so that you can tell your story to Peter in more detail.

If we’re not sure your case is right for the Commission, we will let you know and try to suggest other ways you might achieve an apology, a recognition payment or counselling.

When I got compensation and an unreserved written apology from the Marist Brothers, I started to smile again. I spent years haunted by the high school principal who abused me. I attempted suicide several times and always felt uncomfortable around people. But getting a settlement has helped me to achieve a life-changing breakthrough. My wife is overjoyed to see me making jokes and laughing again after so many years.

Kelso’s client

Alex’s story has been made possible by the Royal Commission. Make the most of this incredible opportunity to finally achieve the answers you’ve always wanted and the justice you’ve always deserved.


The time to act is now

If you’re thinking about giving evidence to the Royal Commission, tell us your story.

The Commission is gaining momentum and calling for victims and witnesses to come forward.

You can be a part of the fight to help save the next generation from the suffering you have endured.

About Peter Kelso

I am a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. I have been admitted to practice since 1984. I am the principal and founder of Kelso Lawyers which has operated in Newcastle since 1986.

I have been an advocate for compensation for victims of abuse since the commencement of the Victims Compensation Tribunal in New South Wales in 1988. I conduct the largest victims practice in New South Wales. I have a high level of engagement with numerous NGOs such as woman’s refuges, sexual assault services, community organisations and healing centres.

On 31 October 2012 I was a finalist for the Justice Medal, presented by the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales.

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