Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Tasmanian education dept responds to tabling of abuse report

Tasmania’s Department for Education, Children and Young People says it is committed to the future protection of children following the tabling of the final report from the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings.

On 15 March 2021, the Commission of Inquiry was established by an Order of the Governor of Tasmania. On 31 August 2023, Commissioners submitted the Commission of Inquiry’s report to the Governor of Tasmania.

“Keeping children safe and well so they can engage in learning and live happy and fulfilling lives is the Department for Education, Children and Young People’s greatest commitment and highest priority,” the Department said following the tabling and public release of the final report.

The Report highlights the Government’s past failings to protect children from child sexual abuse, while setting a clear path for the future. 

“The historical abuse that occurred to children in our institutions is abhorrent, and we apologise unreservedly to all those who have been impacted by child sexual abuse, who expected – and deserved – far more from us,” said the Department.

“It is vital we learn from our past failures and put every possible safeguard in place to ensure this can never happen again. All children have a fundamental right to be safe and it is our responsibility to ensure they are. 

“We are focussed on making a real difference, recognising there will be challenges, we are committed to working with children and young people to get this right and ensure we never make the mistakes of the past again. 

“It is our hope that our Department’s commitment to putting children at the centre of everything we do will increase their safety and the community’s trust in us.”

The Department said it had not waited for the Commission of Inquiry Report to learn and grow in its understanding of, and response to, child sexual abuse.

“Crucial work has already begun to ensure our systems and processes for safeguarding children and young people are as effective as possible,” it said.

The Report recommendations will provide important additional direction that will be built into the Department’s ongoing response.

“It is important to understand that it will take time to fully consider the recommendations to ensure real difference is made from this point on, which is what we intend to do,” said the Department. 

The full 2,922-page report is available here.

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