A commission of inquiry has released its final report into the Tasmanian government’s responses to child sexual abuse in institutional settings, finding that the response to incidents of abuse across the state have been “too often, inadequate”.
“More commonly, institutions did not recognise child sexual abuse for what it was and failed to act decisively to manage risks and investigate complaints. Sometimes this was due to a lack of guidance and direction on how to manage incidents well but, also, due to ignorance, inertia and a desire to protect reputational interests,” the report said.
“Victim survivors have been abused by the very people who are supposed to care for them. And they were failed by the system that is meant to protect them. It is time for change. It is time to reflect on some of our most painful moments in Tasmania’s history, and to build a culture in our institutions that will ensure it is never repeated.”
Rockliff also offered an apology to victim-survivors of child abuse.
“We are deeply sorry to all those who have suffered abuse in Tasmanian institutions and to your families and loved ones,” Rockliff said.
“We failed you. We are all accountable. And we are sorry. And we know that words are not enough. Today I reaffirm our government’s commitment to implement every one of the Commission’s 191 recommendations.”
The commissioners said it would be a “tragedy” if the report was treated as “the product of just another inquiry to file and forget”.