THE EARLY DAYS OF THE CHILD SEX ABUSE ROYAL COMMISSION
THE ROYAL COMMISSION IS ANNOUNCED
Then prime minister Julia Gillard said there had been a systemic failure to respond to "vile and evil" child sexual abuse and a national response was appropriate.
"There have been revelations of child abusers being moved from place to place rather than the nature of their abuse and their crimes being dealt with," she said on November 12, 2012.
"There have been too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil."
WHAT WAS THE LEAD-UP?
Several inquiries investigated specific aspects of abuse, but none had looked at the problem across all institutions nationally.
NSW announced its own special commission of inquiry three days before the federal government said it was setting up a royal commission.
It followed Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox's call for a royal commission into allegations of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic Church clergy in the Hunter region and cover-ups by police and the church.
It ultimately found no evidence to show senior police officers tried to block child abuse investigations.
Victoria's own inquiry was already under way, with a parliamentary committee investigating the handling of child abuse by religious and other non-government organisations.
It was announced in April 2012, a week after reports of at least 40 suicides among victims of sexual abuse at Catholic schools.
It followed the February 2012 release of the independent Cummins report on the state's treatment of vulnerable children, that recommended a formal investigation into how religious groups respond to child abuse perpetrated within their ranks.
ITS FIRST SITTING
At its first sitting in Melbourne on April 3, 2013, chair Justice Peter McClellan said the commission would give a voice to child sexual abuse survivors.
"The commissioners accept that part of the task given to us by the terms of reference is to bear witness, on behalf of the nation, to the abuse and consequential trauma inflicted upon many people who have suffered sexual abuse as children," he said.
"We expect that our work will allow the community to move forward with a determination that any wrongdoing which has occurred in the past will not be repeated."
Counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness SC said it did not have powers to prosecute people and its investigations aimed to understand the response of an institution to abuse allegations.
"The royal commission is not a court and it is not a prosecutor," she said.
ITS ORIGINAL DEADLINE WAS EXTENDED
The commission was originally tasked with providing an interim report by the end of June 2014 and its final report in December 2015, with a $281.13 million total budget.
From the opening sitting, Justice McClellan said the commission was unlikely to meet the final deadline given the scope of the inquiry.
After the commission's interim report requested an extra $104 million and two years to finish its job, the federal government extended the final reporting deadline to December 15, 2017, and gave it another $126 million.