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Tasmanian Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

On 20 June 2018, the Tasmanian Government tabled its response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Tasmanian Government acknowledges the courage of people affected by institutional child sexual abuse who shared their stories with the Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission has highlighted the failings of the past and provided institutions with a body of work that will help us to protect our community’s most vulnerable from the impacts of abuse.

The Tasmanian Government remains committed to better protecting our children, and the final report released by the Royal Commission will help shape future reforms to achieve this.

On 15 December 2019, the Tasmanian Government released its Second Annual Progress Report and Action Plan 2020 on implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations. The Progress Report builds on the foundations of the First-Year Progress Report and Action Plan 2018-19 and will be tabled in Parliament in early 2020.

Read the Tasmanian Government’s Second Annual Progress Report and Action Plan 2020 (PDF, 771.8 KB)

Read the Second year Progress Report and Action Plan 2020 - Appendix A
(PDF, 1.2 MB)

Read the Tasmanian Government’s First Annual Progress Report and Action Plan 2018-2019 (PDF, 737.0 KB)

Read the Tasmanian Government’s response (PDF, 1.8 MB)

Read the Australian Government’s response

What does the final report contain?

The final report brings together the culmination of the work of the Royal Commission over its five-year inquiry. It sets out what the Royal Commission heard, concluded and recommended to better prevent and respond to child sexual abuse in institutions.

The final report is made up of an executive summary and 17 volumes. It makes 409 recommendations across a wide range of policy areas aimed at improving institutional responses to child sexual abuse. The Royal Commission’s recommendations aim to:

  • prevent abuse or, at the very least, identify it as early as possible;
  • improve the way perpetrators are investigated, prosecuted and sentenced; and
  • improve survivors’ access to justice and ongoing support.

The Royal Commission’s recommendations recognise that governments, institutions and the broader community share responsibility for keeping children safe. Recommendations focus on the following policy areas:

  • making institutions safer for children;
  • improving advocacy, support and treatment services for people affected by child sexual abuse;
  • responding to children with harmful sexual behaviours; and
  • improving the response of different types of institutions.

Read the Royal Commission’s final report.

What is the Tasmanian Government doing?

In December 2017, the Australian Government established a taskforce to respond to the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and coordinate action on the recommendations where national collaboration and consistency are required.  The taskforce, which comprises representatives of all Australian governments, has operated since January 2018 and will continue until June 2020.

To coordinate the initial formal response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations, the Tasmanian Government established interdepartmental governance arrangements, including an Interdepartmental Steering Committee. Tasmania, along with other jurisdictions, has also been participating in regular national taskforce meetings. The Steering Committee will oversee the development of an action plan for the implementation of the recommendations, with priority actions to be agreed and progressed first.

In 2019, the Tasmanian Government has undertaken a number of significant law reforms arising from the recommendations of the Royal Commission including:

  • the passage of the Criminal Code and Related Legislation Amendment (Child Abuse) Act 2018 to implement a number of criminal justice recommendations including a new crime of failing to report child abuse and the abrogation of the confessional privilege for the purposes of the new crime and mandatory reporting obligations; and
  • the passage of the Justice Legislation Amendment (Organisational Liability for Child Abuse) Act 2019 to implement a number of the Royal Commission’s civil litigation recommendations including the introduction of a statutory duty on organisations engaged in children-related services and reforms to enable the identification of a proper defendant.

The Tasmanian Government also introduced legislative amendments that complement the work of the Royal Commission by amending the Civil Liability Act 2002 to extend the law of vicarious liability to people who are ‘akin to employees’ and the Limitation Act 1974 to enable Courts to set aside previous settlements where it is in the interests of justice to do so.

There has also been significant progress in a number of the Tasmanian Government’s larger reform projects including:

  • finalising the scope of a 3-year Pilot Intermediary Scheme for Tasmania;
  • finalising the scope of a framework for Child Safe Organisations in Tasmania, incorporating the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Principles for Child Safe Organisations and the Royal Commission’s Child Safe Standards;
  • finalising the plans for the redevelopment of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre; and
  • finalising key deliverables under the Out-of-Home Care Foundations Project.

Read more information about Tasmania’s participation in the National Redress Scheme.