The Commissioner for Children and Young People today welcomed the long-awaited introduction of a legal framework to strengthen protections for children from abuse in organisations and to respond appropriately if abuse is suspected.
“The passing of the Child and Youth Safe Organisations Bill 2022 constitutes a significant reform to strengthen the protection and promotion of the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in Tasmanian organisations,” Ms McLean said.
“This reform is long overdue. It implements recommendations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse made more than five years ago.
“I have long advocated for the introduction of mandatory standards that Tasmanian organisations must meet to protect the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, as well as a reportable conduct scheme, and independent oversight to build organisations’ capacity and to monitor and enforce their compliance.”
While welcoming the reform, Ms McLean called on the Government to implement the reforms in a child-centred way and to take action to make the current complex patchwork of systems and organisations charged with keeping children safe simpler, and easier to navigate.
“It is my view that Tasmania should have a single entity, a Commission for Children and Young People, that is responsible for the independent oversight of children and young people’s safety and wellbeing – a one-stop shop that holds the best interests of children as paramount.”
The Commissioner said she will monitor the implementation of the legislation and continue to advocate for what is in the best interests of Tasmanian children and young people.
“This is a once in a lifetime chance to get it right. We owe this to our children and the many courageous victim/survivors who have shared their stories to influence change.”