Victims of clergy child-sex abuse and others will be given free legal advice so they can engage with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which holds its first hearing on Wednesday in Melbourne.
Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the free service would give legal, advice including help with submissions and advice on confidentiality agreements.
The announcement came as Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Catholic Church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council, named the council's 12 members and told Fairfax Media that the council was already providing documents and files to the commission.
Mr Dreyfus said legal advice would be offered through the National Association of Community Legal Centres on a free nationwide telephone service, with some face-to-face help available in some locations yet to be identified.
''It is important to ensure that people understand their legal rights and are given every assistance to make their evidence count,'' Mr Dreyfus said.
He confirmed Sydney barrister Gail Furness as senior counsel assisting the commission, and Melbourne barrister Melinda Richards as junior counsel.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Wednesday that the royal commission would ''require our whole country to stare some very uncomfortable truths in the face''.
''What I want to achieve out of the royal commission is twofold. For the survivors of child abuse I want this to be a moment of healing. For us to say to them as a nation, 'We hear you, you're valued and you're believed'. Because for too long so many of the survivors have just run into closed doors and closed minds.
''Second, I want the royal commission to provide for us recommendations about the future. We have let children down in the past as a country, we need to learn what we can do as a nation to better protect our children in the future,'' Ms Gillard said.
Bank of Melbourne chief Elizabeth Proust is among the list of prominent names who will form the Truth, Justice and Healing Council set up late last year by the Catholic Church to liaise with the commission. Former NSW Supreme Court judge Barry O'Keefe was named as chairman.
Mr Sullivan said the councillors, who were chosen ''for their willingness to give the church frank and independent advice'', had expertise in child sexual abuse, paedophilia, trauma, mental illness, suicide and public policy.
The other councillors are retired magistrate Sue Gordon, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Perth child protection expert Professor Maria Harries, Sane Australia CEO Jack Heath, Monash University social work professor Rosemary Sheehan, former South Australian community welfare minister Greg Crafter, Brigidine Sisters psychologist Maree Marsh, Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Bill Wright, Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven, Queensland psychiatrist Marian Sullivan and Melbourne educator Stephen Elder.