At public hearings Commissioners will hear evidence and information about abuse in State care and faith-based institutions. Each public hearing is part of a wider investigation examining a theme or particular institution.
Most survivors and others who share their experiences and views about how things should change with the Commission will do this by written account, private session or a formal witness statement. A small number of survivors may be asked to appear as a witnesses a public hearings. First they must prepare a formal witness statement with a lawyer and they may be asked to give their evidence about their experiences to the Commissioners in a public hearing.
The evidence heard at public hearings will help the Royal Commission make independent, unbiased findings to inform our recommendations to the Government.
COVID-19 protocols under traffic light settings
The health and safety of our survivors and the public is our utmost priority. To ensure we keep everyone at public hearings safe, and to provide more certainty around hearing dates, everyone who attends a public hearing in person must be fully vaccinated. You will need to present proof of vaccination on arrival at a hearing in the form of the My Vaccine Pass.
At all traffic light settings public hearings will run as scheduled. Members of the public can attend in person at green and orange settings, but not at red.
Temperature checks will be taken when you arrive at the hearing space at red and orange settings. If you have a temperature of 38 degrees or more, you will be asked to leave the hearing and seek medical attention.
All hearings will be live-streamed. For witnesses giving evidence there are options to give evidence remotely if you do not want to attend in person. We encourage people who are of part of a vulnerable population to attend remotely if possible and you will be supported to do so.
We will ensure a safe hearing space is maintained at all levels with regular cleaning, contact tracing and a supply of masks and gloves.
Viewing witness' testimony
A video live stream of each hearing will be played on this website. While a hearing is on there will be a link from the Home page of this website to the where you can watch the livestream.
Written witness statements will be published on this website as soon as possible after each witness has finished appearing.
Individual witness videos will edited to remove breaks and intervals. These will be published by the following business day after the witness has finished giving their evidence. There may be further delays if witness evidence runs over more than one day or if the footage is delayed due to legal reasons and we will let you know if this is the case.
Written transcripts of everything that was said during that witness testimony including by Commissioners and Counsel Assist, will be published on this website as soon as possible after each witness has finished appearing.
Unedited Live stream copies of the hearings are available by clicking on the arrow in the top right hand corner of the live stream window that appears during the period of the hearing on the hearings page. Please note these include breaks and intervals.
Public hearings pages can be found by going to the Investigations section and looking on the investigation page that that hearing is related to, e.g.
Pacific people’s experiences of abuse in care investigation
State and faith-based redress investigation
Abuse in children's State residential care investigation
Abuse in State psychiatric care investigation
Attending a hearing
There will be many public hearings during the Inquiry, each running for between one to three weeks. All public hearings will be held in venues open and accessible to the public. You can attend as a member of the public or watch a live stream on our website.
At a hearing
Commissioners will be looking at:
- Why people were taken into care
- What abuse and neglect occurred
- Why it happened and the effect it had
- What was learned and what changes were made
- How the systems are working now
- How things can be done better
Detail about the hearing process will be provided by a member of our legal counsel.
For details about expenses for witnesses at public hearings, see our Witness Expenses Policy.
If you are a journalist and would like to attend and/or report on a Royal Commission public hearing, you must adhere to the Media Guidelines which include applying to attend/report within five business days.
Media enquiries: 027 298 2094, firstname.lastname@example.org