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South Australia - Event

Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry (2004 - 2008)

State of South Australia

Alternative Names
  • Mullighan Inquiry (Also known as)

The Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry began in November 2004 under the terms of The Commission of Inquiry (Children in State Care) Act 2004. It produced its final report in March 2008. The terms of reference of the Inquiry were to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of children in State care and allegations of criminal conduct resulting in the death of children in State care.


The Honourable EP Mullighan QC began his role as Commissioner role in December 2004. During the Inquiry 792 people sat with Commissioner Mullighan and told of incidents of child sexual abuse. These hearings identified 1592 allegations dating from the 1930s to the early 2000s. The Inquiry also received the names of 924 children alleged to have died while in State care.

The Inquiry investigated each of these allegations and produced a 564 page report which found that 'in the past 65 years the State has failed to protect some of the children in its care from sexual abuse'. The report included 54 recommendations aimed at implementing strategies to prevent abuse, protect vulnerable children, support disclosure and respond effectively.

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Sources used to compile this entry: Mullighan, the Hon E.P., Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry: Allegations of sexual abuse and death from criminal conduct, presented to the South Australian Parliament by the Hon. E.P. Mullighan QC, Commisioner, Children in State Care Commission of Enquiry, Adelaide, South Australia, 2008, 564 pp,; Swain, Shurlee, History of Australian inquiries reviewing institutions providing care for children, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Sydney, October 2014,

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George