The Royal Commission released its Final Report on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on 15 December 2017.
Recently, the Commonwealth Government announced it will make a National Apology to victims and survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. The Tasmanian Government supports this decision, as it provides an important opportunity to educate the community about child sexual abuse and apologise for the grave abuses that have been committed against these victims. More information about the National Apology can be found on the Premier of Tasmania website.
Safety of children and students is a key priority for the Tasmanian Government and a number of measures are already in place to keep them safe. The Government has closely monitored the work of the Royal Commission and has already taken action across a number of areas covered by the Commission’s reports. This includes legislative changes to abolish limitation periods for civil claims arising from childhood sexual and physical abuse, reforms to Tasmania’s criminal laws and improvements to the Out of Home Care system through both the Strategic Plan for Out of Home Care in Tasmania 2017-2019 (PDF 5.3MB) and as part of the Strong Families, Safe Kids project. In addition to these actions, all Department of Education Employees are required to hold a current Working with Vulnerable People registration and are Mandatory Reporters under the Child Safety legislation.
The Royal Commission has provided essential support for survivors of abuse in Australia, and allowed them a chance to be heard. This is by no means an easy feat for all who took part, and as a Department we acknowledge and commend the courage of all those who shared their personal stories and experiences. As part of this coordinated effort, all governments now have a responsibility to ensure an effective response to protect our children and young people.
For more information about the Royal Commission and the National Redress Scheme, including details of contact and support please visit the Department of Justice website.
It was announced on the 27 August by the Tasmanian Government that independent inquiry into education responses to child sexual abuse will be undertaken.
The Inquiry is to ensure that the legislation, policies, practices and procedures (‘systems’) utilised by the Department of Education operate in a way that minimises the risk of child sexual abuse within Tasmanian Government Schools.
A Terms of Reference has been established to guide the inquiry.
For Department of Education staff who may be impacted by this issue, access to our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provided by Newport & Wildman is available, this service provides free and confidential support and counselling.
For immediate support
24-hour telephone assistance is available through:
• Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
• 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732 or visit the 1800 Respect website
• Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
• MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
• Relationships Australia Tasmania 1300 364 277
• Sexual Assault Support Service Inc. 03 6231 0044