Sex abuse victims to be given a voice

QUEENSLAND victims of child sexual abuse by members of private, public or non-government organisations will have the chance to have their voices heard next month.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse announced today it will hold two weeks of public hearings in Brisbane and a series of private sessions across regional Queensland.

The high-profile commission was established last year to investigate how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

Bravehearts research manager Carol Ronken said it was the first time the commission would hear evidence from Queensland victims.

"Survivors will be given the opportunity to tell the commission their story," she said.

"It is a very important avenue for many survivors and for a lot of them it is an extremely important part of the healing process.

"For many it is the first time they have spoken out about what happened to them.

"It is about giving a voice for the first time to the child victims they once were."

Ms Ronken said some of the stories that have been told at hearings in New South Wales and Victoria were simply horrific.

"One of the major issues in Queensland has been surrounding the Boystown organisation," she said.

"We have had many people come forward from regional Queensland who are prepared to tell their story.

"However, most of those complaints centre around churches and homes."

Over the past year the commission has investigated where systems have failed to protect children and made recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions.

The commission has sweeping powers including the ability to refer individuals to law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

The public hearings will be held in Brisbane from February 17 to 28.

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