South Australian Enquiry

The Commission of Inquiry (Children in State Care) Act 2004 was proclaimed and came into operation on the 18th November 2004. Justice Ted Mullighan QC was appointed as Commissioner from 3rd December 2004, following his retirement from the Supreme Court.

The terms of reference of the Inquiry were to inquire into any allegations of:

(a) sexual abuse of a person who, at the time that the alleged abuse occurred, was a child in State care; or

(b) criminal conduct which resulted in the death of a person who, at the time that the alleged conduct occurred, was a child in State care.

The inquiry followed several arrests through the South Australian Paedophile Task Force of men charged over alleged child sexual abuse, as well as a damning independent report into the Anglican Church's handling of sexual abuse allegations over many decades. This report, which found the church was more concerned with protecting itself than with helping the victims of abuse, led to the resignation of the Anglican Archbishop in South Australia, Dr Ian George. However, the Rann Government only called the Commission of Inquiry into Children in State Care after intense pressure from survivors, experts, and demands from the state Opposition demanding government accountability on this issue.

In announcing the Commission of Inquiry in July 2004, the Premier Mike Rann said that it would aim both to assist victims of abuse and also to bring perpetrators to justice. Criminal charges will be brought where there is evidence for them to be laid. The Premier said that he hoped the inquiry 'will help heal what has become an open wound in the state's history', while the Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, said the Government was prepared for compensation claims after the inquiry is finished.

Hearings for the Inquiry began on Wednesday 8 December 2004 before Justice Ted Mullighan.

CLAN went to Adelaide for the launch of the inquiry and to give evidence, and subsequently conducted several workshops with inquiry workers to help them understand the issues that care survivors deal with. CLAN was impressed by the sincerity of the Commissioner, and that he was willing to learn about our issues, stating at the opening of the inquiry, ‘if we’re making any mistakes, tell us what we’re doing wrong’.

The inquiry has now been completed and the Mullighan Report was released on April 1, 2008.  It is called the Children In State Care Commission of Inquiry - Allegations of Sexual Abuse and Death from Criminal Conduct.

You can access this report at http://www.service.sa.gov.au/ContentPages/sagovt/mullighaninquiry.aspx

If you gave evidence to the inquiry you will receive a copy posted to you free.  If you would like a copy posted to you but did not give evidence, it will cost you $44. Call Service SA on 13 23 24 to request it. If you are in SA you can buy it over the counter at Service SA, Government Legislation Outlet, 108 North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000.

Premier Rann has announced that survivors affected by the events detailed in the Mullighan Report are eligable for immediate compensation through the existing Victims Of Crime scheme without needing to suffer through a trial. Additionally, while the report does not reccomend the establishment of a specific compensation fund, it does reccomend that the SA Government investigate the handling of compensation cases in other jurisdictions. Return to our home page to follow the links to press releases and media statements regarding the Inquiry report and compensation scheme.