A decade of Victorian inquests, commissions and inquiries into family violence and institutional child abuse: comparing the processes

Anita Mackay1, Jacob McCahon
1La Trobe University, Bundoora , Australia

Inquisitorial processes such as Royal Commissions and parliamentary inquiries are increasingly being used in Victoria as a means of investigating a range of complex policy and legal problems. This paper uses a specific timeframe of the past decade (January 2008 to 31 December 2017) and two specific subject-areas (inquiries into family violence and institutional child abuse) as a means to consider what the different processes have to offer, with a particular emphasis on the participation of victims and family members.  The processes examined include: the 2015 coronial inquest into the death of Luke Batty, the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence and the 2013 Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations.

Dr Anita Mackay is a lecturer at La Trobe Law School.  Dr Mackay has an interest in how inquisitorial processes, such as parliamentary committee inquiries and Royal Commissions, provide avenues for public participation and exposure of wrongdoing.  In conducting this research she draws on her experience as a legal researcher for a Victorian parliamentary committee, and extensive experience developing government responses to recommendations from within the public service.


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