top of page

Tasmanian Child Abuse Survivors Looking For Justice and Institutional Change

Tasmania's child sex abuse commission of inquiry finished up on the 30th of August 2023,

over a 100 referrals were made to the Tasmanian Police and child protection through the process. Evidence from survivors and witnesses highlighted systemic concerns across Launceston General Hospital, Ashley Youth Detention Centre, Out of Home Care and Public Schools. Since 2000, the ecosystem supporting government child trafficking has been deliberately overlooked and hidden under the guise of "public interest". It is expected the report to be tabled in parliament on September 26th, after they redact all the information they deem embarrassing.

I went down to Premier Jeremy Rockliff's Devonport Office on the 5th of September to enquire when he would be on location next. The staff member (Stephanie) who greeted me was disingenuous and misleading in stating she had no knowledge of Jeremy Rockliff's schedule and the Hobart gateway would need to facilitate a booking. I replied with "do I have to write a freedom of information to get his schedule", she looked quite foolish but remained adamant she did not know his schedule. After I left, Stephanie rang me, after consulting with her handler and told me Jeremy couldn't discuss the report until after the 26th of September. I asked again, why couldn't she disclose the next time he was in the Devonport Office and again she indicated she did not have his schedule. I went home and requested his entire September diary under Right to Information.

After decades of secrecy and "non-compliance" the government child trafficking industry still avoids accountability and transparency with Premier Jeremy Rockliff's office deliberate avoidance of survivors and advocates asking for the report to be tabled immediately.

Amanda Duncan has been championing change in Tasmania after her sister Zoe was sexually assaulted at the Launceston General Hospital in 2001. The Two Sisters Campaign is on a mission to stop sexual violence in government institutions. Click on the pictures to be redirected to The Two Sisters Campaign.

Since arriving back in Tasmania in 2015 and working on Federally and State funding human service deliverables, the only organisation I can mention who were pro-active in their child safeguarding approach was Save The Children, within weeks of commencing anywhere else, I was in constant correspondence with Ministers, external bodies and Worksafe. In 2016, I was one of the whistleblowers who highlighted Safe Pathways was an extremely unethical private company. ITEC Group signed up workers through a separate business model and then placed workers at Safe Pathways, when it was flagged for "non-compliance" they just funneled the unprofessional staff who were never recommended for criminal penalties to Oak Possability. The private owners of this company were never charged with criminal penalties and to this day continue to deliver services in Queensland and Northern Territory.

It's also important to highlight the child protection industry was deskilled and critical clients go into a gateway portal to be bid on and the cheapest contract delivers the service. Within weeks of starting at Oak Possability I was in correspondence with my Worksafe contacts. After my experience with Safe Pathways, they were worse with workers taking clients to their house to wash the dog, medication incidents to put so called Team Leaders with absolutely no qualifications to shame and work place violence at a peek.

High needs clients with dual diagnosis were being chemically restrained with (at the time) unregulated practices and placed with workers who had two days training within a "trauma informed" scope. They had no understanding of borderline personality disorder, bipolar or mental health event management. One meeting I will recount for this blog involves the mismanagement of suicide and my concerns of sexual abuse indicators. Nicola Crates (Director Practice Innovation and Service Design) would stare across the table and say "I never wanted this position", she preferred research. The child I mention here, I will happily support to take private action against every individual who worked on their care team and take everything they own.

The Child Protection Officer involved with a different child placement resigned because of alleged corruption and blank cheque's. Team Leader Tammy Retallick would later resign because of the mismanagement of high risk clients, but neither of these people to date have stepped forward to highlight the internal issues and nepotistic barriers around reportable events.

These deskilled organisations lead people to report internally and the management team decides if the incidents will proceed. I have sat in training where Possability practice consultants discouraged staff to report to child protection and implied they knew better than the case managers. A Team Leader, who I was informed had been terminated due to poor judgement and purchasing a child cigarettes, turned up to this training. It turned out they decided to treat me like an idiot and silo the unprofessional staff member and keep them away from me. As I have no tolerance for untrained, unprofessional people playing manager and report to external bodies.

I agree with Azra Beech, and it is my opinion Out of Home Care is always over looked since child services were deskilled and support professionals are never given the correct information for reporting appropriately outside the business silo. I can't share the emails I sent between myself and the HR manager of Safe Pathways, but after I calmed down and began my reply, the Queensland shareholder soon realised after I cc'd Worksafe, my union rep, the ombudsman and all relevant Ministers into our correspondence, I wasn't going to be deterred or bullied while advocating for my young person. Tasmania has a toxic workplace culture, where unprofessional managers think they are untouchable, nepotism is a massive issue.

Azra Beech was placed in a foster system that exposed her to abuse starting when she was a toddler, she recounted the physical, mental and sexual abuse to the commission. The government department responsible for out of home care "did nothing" to help or investigate the abuse. Azra also describes her experience with the Redress Scheme in the linked article. I also agree with Azra that children in care situations right now are having a poor experience. It's up to every individual in Tasmania to take on responsibility to improve the child protection/care space, make people and organisations accountable and advocate for change.

More than 100 former detainees have launched a class action against the state in the Supreme Court, alleging abuse at the hands of the institution.

Meanwhile, the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings has given voice to allegations of invasive strip searches, beatings, sexual abuse, shredded documents, altered reports and gang rapes.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page