Media Releases - 30 August 2023

Government must respond with bravery and determination

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Leanne McLean today thanked the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings for its momentous work over the past 29 months.

“I would like to personally thank the Commissioners, the staff of the Commission, the expert witnesses, and all those involved in undertaking this historic Inquiry into what the Tasmanian Government must do to better protect children against sexual abuse in institutions in the future,” Ms McLean said.

“I express my deep and sincere gratitude to the many victim-survivors of child sexual abuse in Tasmania who came forward to courageously share their experiences with the Commission of Inquiry and the broader Tasmanian community.

“I also acknowledge with deep respect those victim-survivors who did not participate in the Inquiry. I acknowledge the ongoing impact of child sexual abuse on children, their families and friends.”

Ms McLean highlighted and expressed her deep gratitude to the children and young people who contributed their views to the Commission’s work.

“You have the right to feel safe and to be safe, no matter where you are, and I am so sorry that your rights were not upheld.

“For those who have participated, your bravery and resilience sets the example to all Tasmanians with responsibility to protect and uphold the rights and wellbeing of children and young people.”

Ms McLean said that the Commission’s hearings had already shone a light on the countless reports, allegations, incidents and risks of child sexual abuse in institutional settings, and the too often inadequate responses of the Tasmanian Government. It also heard continued examples of poor systems, practices and culture during the course of its Inquiry.

“The completion of the Inquiry and the delivery of the Commission’s report and recommendations to Her Excellency the Governor – and ultimately to the Tasmanian community through our Parliament – represents a watershed moment for the realisation of the rights of children and young people to be protected from harm and abuse and to be afforded appropriate care when concerns are raised.

“As the Commissioners said today, the delivery of their final report also marks a new beginning and not the end of this process. Now, we need our government to listen, and to respond with bravery and determination.

“Based on what Commissioners said, this should include immediate steps to progress the closure of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre; address the chronic underfunding of the youth justice and out of home care systems; and immediately progress the establishment of a Commission for Children and Young People.

“The Government must now respond with planned, funded and sustained change to better ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children and future generations.”

Ms McLean said anyone aware of allegations of child abuse has a duty to report this abuse to the appropriate authorities, including the Strong Families Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line on 1800 000 123 and to Tasmania Police. In an emergency, always call 000.

“If you or someone you know needs help or support, there are services available. Options include:

• Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
• 1800 Respect
• Lifeline on 13 11 14
• Sexual Assault Support Service 1800 697 877
• National Redress Scheme Information Line 1800 146 713
• Relationships Australia 1300 364 277.” 

A list of support services is also available on the Commission of Inquiry’s website – Support (