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Gillard launches royal commission into child abuse

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Published on Nov 12, 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced the creation of a national royal commission into institutional responses to instances of child sexual abuse.

The decision was taken at a meeting of federal cabinet this afternoon.

Ms Gillard had been under pressure to act following growing calls for a national inquiry into explosive allegations by a senior New South Wales police investigator that the Catholic Church covered up evidence involving paedophile priests.

A number of senior Labor MPs, as well as key independents, had already voiced their support for action on a national scale.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also declared his support for a "wide-ranging" royal commission into child sex abuse but said it should not just focus on claims involving the Catholic Church.

Ms Gillard said the Government would take the coming weeks to consult stakeholders before announcing the terms of reference.

The Prime Minister said the commission would look at all religious organisations, state care providers, not-for-profit bodies as well as the responses of child service agencies and the police.

"The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking," Ms Gillard told reporters in Canberra.

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