Victim survivors want answers but report on Tasmanian schools' responses to pedophile teachers not released

Secrecy prevails as schools' response to sexual abuse remains hidden

Secrecy behind the Tasmanian school system's past handling of child sexual abuse and paedophile teachers continues, with the government choosing not to publicly release a report into the issue.

This is despite Commission of Inquiry president Marcia Neave, who is looking into the state's responses to child sexual abuse, urging the government to do so, and victim survivors publicly stating a desire for its public release.

"We emphasise that its publication or implementation should not be delayed on our account," Ms Neave said.

The report is based on an inquiry undertaken by child abuse expert Professor Steven Smallbone and legal expert Professor Tim McCormack examining the education department's responses to child sexual abuse, and its handling of pedophile teachers in state schools.

Court cases have previously shown that such teachers were moved from school to school in Tasmania.

The experts looked at policies and procedures governing the responses of child sexual abuse in schools, current reforms, and the state's implementation of Royal Commission recommendations

The government has previously noted, in an Attorney-General budget estimates brief, that the report "will be publicly released at the end of the inquiry, including findings and recommendations".

When asked this week whether the report would be released, the government said, through a spokesman, that it would not be doing so at this stage.

"The government understands the public interest in this matter and wants to be as transparent as possible," he said.

"Noting the comments made by the Commission of Inquiry ... the government is seeking advice on what information on the report and recommendations can be publicly released at this time.

"This will need to take into consideration that the report is relevant to legal proceedings, and that the experiences of survivors are the subject of legal protections, and they have the right to choose whether their experiences are shared publicly."


Regarding recommendations within the report, the spokesman said that the education department had commenced implementation of the report's recommendations.

"This office is working to implement the recommendations, and will look at all information available to ensure every possible step is taken to safeguard children and young people from the harm of abuse," he said.

"In August this year the department of education has established the Office of Safeguarding Children and Young People and appointed Ms Elizabeth Jack as the executive director of that office.

"This appropriately recognises the importance of the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people in the department schools, libraries and child and family learning centres."

This story Secrecy prevails as schools' response to sexual abuse remains hidden first appeared on The Advocate.