The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) was established under the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cwlth) on 11 January 2013. Its Final Report was presented to the Governor-General on 15 December 2017.
Volume 8 of the Report, concerning Recordkeeping and Information Sharing, contains 23 recommendations.
Recommendation 8.1 states:
“To allow for delayed disclosure of abuse by victims and take account of limitation periods for civil actions for child sexual abuse, institutions that engage in child-related work should retain, for at least 45 years, records relating to child sexual abuse that has occurred or is alleged to have occurred.”
Recommendation 8.3 states that Australian public records authorities should provide organisations with guidance on identification and retention of relevant records. The SROWA is responsible for advising Western Australian government entities about the recordkeeping requirements presented in the Report.
Recommendations 8.1 and 8.3 will affect previously approved disposal authorities and amendments to these documents are in progress. In the interim, government organisations are reminded that, in accordance with their Retention and Disposal Authorities:
“If an Investigation or Inquiry is in progress (or likely or imminent), all records relevant to the Investigation or Inquiry (including those due for destruction) must be identified and preserved until the action and any subsequent actions are completed.”
On 5 April 2018, Cathrin Cassarchis, the then State Archivist and Executive Director State Records issued a disposal freeze for government records relating to children. This freeze applies to all Western Australian State and local government organisations, and outsourced agents creating or maintaining relevant records for these organisations.
Any such records held by State or local government organisations, or their outsourced agents, must not be destroyed until further notice.
The disposal freeze applies from 5 April 2018 until further notice from the State Archivist.
For further information or clarification please contact State Information Management Services via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .