Explosive report into public school child sexual abuse released

Education department protected paedophile teachers, report finds

An explosive report into the Tasmanian state school system's response to child sexual abuse has found that school reputation and financial loss were put above the interests of children who were abused by pedophile teachers.

The report provides details of an independent inquiry into the Education Department's responses to child sexual abuse since the 1960s, which was undertaken by child abuse expert Professor Steven Smallbone and legal expert Professor Tim McCormack.

Professors Kneebone and McCormack state that the Education Department continually disregarded risks and harms to children, with officials responding in ways that were "completely at odds with community expectations at the time".

They found that pedophile teachers were transferred to different schools despite parents, teachers and principals opposing the transfers.

"We have found it deeply disturbing that, as concerns, complaints and ineffectual responses literally piled up in DoE's records, serial abusers ... were not just allowed to keep teaching for decades, but that DoE leaders and others so wilfully disregarded the obvious risks and harms to students," they said.

"DoE responses over this period routinely involved deflecting or ignoring concerns and complaints, often by disbelieving or blaming students, and by shielding alleged or known sexual abusers."

The government initially planned to release the report after the Commission of Inquiry, looking into the state's responses to child sexual abuse, completed its investigations.

In a joint statement Attorney General Elise Archer and education minister Sarah Courtney said the government is releasing the report's findings and recommendations and the government's response only.

They said Professors McCormack and Smallbone met with a number of people directly and indirectly affected by child sexual abuse in school settings, including victims, survivors, family members, support people, medical professionals, and State servants.

"It is important to note that many of those people contributed to the Inquiry on a confidential basis and we acknowledge their valuable contributions to the Inquiry and want to ensure the rights of these individuals are protected," they said.

"Many of these contributors have legal protections preventing the publication of their experiences without their express consent, including protections under section 194K of the Evidence Act 2001 (Tas).

"The Tasmanian government respects the right of all people affected by child sexual abuse to determine if and how their experiences are shared."

The report makes a number of recommendations.


This story Education department protected paedophile teachers, report finds first appeared on The Examiner.