Citizen activism and Australia's largest royal commission

Dr Katie Wright (Lead Chief Investigator), Sari BraithwaiteProfessor Shurlee Swain (Australian Catholic University), Professor Johanna Sköld (Linköping University, Sweden), Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD), Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN)

This project investigates the role of citizen activism in relation to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-2017). It seeks to understand how collective action aimed at recognition of childhood abuse and the reclaiming of rights denied to victims, culminated in an inquiry recognised internationally as best practice.

The project aims to better understanding one of Australia’s most important public inquiries and in keep its work alive. The RC made child sexual abuse ‘speakable’ and it is vital that scholarly and cultural projects engage with its work in sensitive and creative ways to consolidate its legacy. Continuing conversations about children’s rights, safety and justice are essential if cultural change is to accompany policy and legislative reform, in Australia and internationally.

Citizen Activism: Reclaiming Childhood Rights was launched on 30 June 2020 as part of the MoAD's Democracy. Are You In? exhibition.

We thank the three women profiled in the short film series created for this project: Leonie Sheedy, Chrissie Foster and Joanne McCarthy.

The project team and MoAD also extend their thanks to the Advisory Committee who provided valuable feedback on the development of the documentary series: Julie Blyth, Judy Courtin, Peter Gogarty and Frank Golding.

The project is funded by La Trobe University and MoAD.


For further information about this project, please contact:

Dr Katie Wright
Department of Social Inquiry
La Trobe University 
T: +61 3 9479 1009