• Report

History of Australian inquiries reviewing institutions providing care for children

Publication Resource Details

  • Author

    Swain, Shurlee

  • Publication Date

    October 2014

  • Publisher

    Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

  • Place Published


  • Page Numbers




  • URL

  • Description

    This paper documents Australian inquiries into institutions providing out-of-home care for children between 1852 and 2013. It identifies three categories of inquiries. The first, dating from 1852 through to the post-war period, was concerned with establishing and refining the child welfare system; the second, dating from the 1860s to the 1990s, convened in response to allegations of abuse. The third, dating from the 1990s to today, focuses on hearing survivor testimony. The paper argues that an inability or unwillingness to recognise abuse, and a tendency to individualise the problem where it could not be ignored, may well have served the interests of the government and non-government institutions that provided child welfare services, but did little to protect the children entrusted to the children's 'care'.

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