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Frequently asked questions

For an emergency where there is immediate risk of harm or a crime is happening now, contact police on 000.

For advice or to refer a concern about the safety and wellbeing of a child or young person in Tasmania, contact the Advice and Referral Line (ARL) on 1800 000 123. The ARL is a service that focuses on providing earlier intervention to identify the needs of the child and their family and support them to access the help they require.

The ARL is the contact point for all mandatory reporters, concerned relatives, friends or neighbours. Parents and children can also call to ask for help for themselves.

The Advice and Referral Line will talk to you about the situation, answer your questions, give you information or advice, and if necessary, they will arrange a referral to services to support the needs of the child.

Where a crime may have been committed, contact police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

The Tell Someone website (www.tellsomeone.tas.gov.au) gives information, support and contacts for people affected by child sexual abuse and grooming. The Tell Someone website includes detailed advice for parents, caregivers or community members about how they can help to keep children and young people safe.

  • Content in the Commission of Inquiry Report and the Government Response may evoke strong emotions. Reader discretion is advised.
  • If you need to talk to someone, support is available.
  • Reach out to your usual healthcare providers including your local GP or Psychologist.

If you don’t have these in place, then there are other supports available, including:

Lifeline

  • 24/7 Crisis support: 13 11 14
  • Tasmanian Lifeline - 8am-8pm, 365 days a year: 1800 98 44 34

State-wide Sexual Assault Support Line

  • 24/7 Support from specialist counsellors provided by the Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) and Laurel House: 1800 697 877 (1800 MY SUPPORT)

Relationships Australia Tasmania

  • Counselling, wellbeing information and referral
  • 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday: 1300 364 277

Beyond Blue

  • 24/7 counselling: 1300 22 4636

Kids Helpline

  • 24/7 Support for children and young people provided by specialist counsellors: 1800 55 1800

In an emergency, always call 000.

You can read and download the Change for Children strategy and action plan on the 'Change for Children strategy and action plan' page.

  • On 1 December 2023, the Government released its Response to the Commission of Inquiry Report – Keeping Children Safe and Rebuilding Trust .
  • The Government Response commits to implementing all 191 recommendations made by the Commission in its Final Report over a three response phases:
    • Phase 1 focuses on those that will be delivered by July 2024
    • Phase 2 focuses on those that will be delivered by July 2026
    • Phase 3 focuses on those that will be delivered by July 2029
  • The implementation of the recommendations represent six years’ worth of solid work across the Tasmanian State Service.
  • The Government’s Response outlines how the Commission’s 191 recommendations will be implemented – over the short, medium and longer term. It identifies the lead Agencies, and organises all of the actions against six themes:
  1. Accountability and Integrity
  2. Collaboration and Integration
  3. Participation and Empowerment
  4. Prevention and Protection
  5. Workforce Expertise and Capability
  6. Child Safe Cultures and Awareness Raising
  • The Government will work with victim-survivors, through appropriately independent and multipartisan arrangements, to meet our commitment to respond to the Commission’s recommendations openly, transparently and accountably.

You can read the Government Response on the 'Read the Government response' page.

You can also download a PDF copy via this link.

  • Some timelines may have changed due to the complexities and interdependencies of the recommendations. This could be, for example:
    • multiple recommendations relating to the review of the Teachers Registration Act 2000 will be pursued together (and current procedures under the Act for responding to incidents or allegations will remain in the meantime).
    • amendments are contingent on the implementation of other amendments, for example, recommendation 21.9 (to amend the Youth Justice Act 1997 to enable new interventions for at-risk children and young people) depends on a broader recommendation to review the Youth Justice Act as part of recommendation 12.15.
  • Some of the COI recommendations can be completed sooner. Examples of recommendations that will be brought forward are:
    • the establishment by the Department for Education, Children and Young People of a Harmful Sexual Behaviours Support Unit (recommendation 9.28). This will be completed in Phase 2, rather than Phase 3, to enable the Unit to support other important work to address harmful sexual behaviours in schools, child safety services, out of home care and youth detention.
    • enhancements to the Department of Health’s cultural improvement program in line with recommendation 15.4 will be brought forward to 2024 (from 2026) because work is already underway in line with the recommendation.
  • The Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings was established on 15 March 2021 by Order of the Governor of Tasmania.
  • Under its terms of reference, the Commission was asked to inquire into what the Tasmanian Government should do to:
    • better protect children against child sexual abuse in institutional contexts in the future
    • achieve best practice in the reporting of, and responding to reports or information about, allegations, incidents or risks of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts
    • eliminate or reduce problems that currently prevent appropriate responses to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts, including addressing failures in, and barriers to, reporting, investigation and responding to allegations and incidents of abuse, and
    • address or alleviate the impact of past and future child sexual abuse in institutional contexts, including, in particular, in ensuring justice for victims through processes for referrals for investigation and prosecution and support services.
  • The Commission was also asked to inquire into the adequacy and appropriateness of the Tasmanian Government’s responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts generally, and in particular by:
    • the Department of Education to allegations of child sexual abuse in Tasmanian Government schools
    • the Tasmanian Health Service and the Department of Health to allegations of child sexual abuse, particularly in the matter of James Geoffrey Griffin, and
    • the Department of Communities Tasmania to allegations of child sexual abuse at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre.
  • The Commission handed its Report to the Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency the Honourable Barbara Baker AC, on 31 August 2023.
  • Its work is now concluded, and the Commission has ended.
  • You can check the Commission’s website for more information on its processes: https://www.commissionofinquiry.tas.gov.au

An electronic copy of the Report has been published on the Commission of Inquiry website.

  • The Government Response delivers 83% of the recommendations within three years (by July 2026).
  • 52 recommendations were identified by the Commission to be actioned by Phase 1 (1 July 2024). The Government Response will deliver 48 recommendations in this timeframe.
  • 107 recommendations were identified by the Commission to be actioned by Phase 2 (July 2026). The Government Response will deliver 110 recommendations in this timeframe.
  • 32 recommendations were identified by the Commission to be actioned by Phase 3 (July 2029). The Government Response will deliver 33 recommendations in this timeframe.
  • Tasmanian Government agencies have been working collaboratively to deliver the Phase One recommendations.
  • The Commission’s Phase One recommendations strengthen policies, procedures and strategies, funding arrangements, propose legislative and regulatory changes and improvements to how our agencies share and provide information about child safety to the public and people using our services.
  • The Phase One recommendations will progress changes to culture within the state service to train, educate and in many cases re-engineer long-standing systems and processes our staff follow to ensure the safeguarding of our children and young people in Tasmania is at the centre of the services we work so hard to provide.
  • You can find information on each recommendation and their status on the 'Recommendation status' page.
  • A report, Immediate Change: Recommendations to be implemented by 1 July 2024 (Phase 1) Progress Report is available on the What the Tasmanian Government is doing page
  • The Government has made several changes to help support people who have experienced abuse and violence. For example:
  • Tasmania Police is changing how it works by creating new teams to deal with violence and exploitation. Over the next five years, they'll start a program to make government places and services more trustworthy, open, and respectful. This program will also work with other new support options like the new Arch Centres, which offer support to those affected by sexual abuse and family violence. Tasmania Police will also work closely with community and government experts to provide counselling, support, and help with gathering evidence in a safe place.
  • The Government created the Keeping Children Safe website to let Tasmanians know about the progress and what help and support options there are for children and young people and victim-survivors.
  • The Commission noted that “there are many encouraging reforms already completed or underway that will enhance Tasmania’s response to child sexual abuse”, such as:
  • A Children and Young People Advisory Group within the Department of Health.
  • The Department for Education, Children and Young People launched Tell Someone, a website and multimedia campaign to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and grooming.
  • Mandatory child safeguarding training was delivered to 15,500 Department of Health people.
  • Child Safeguarding Officers were hired in the hospitals for each region of the state.
  • New laws to set up the Child and Youth Safe Organisations Framework. The framework creates a benchmark that organisations must meet to promote and uphold the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
  • Establishing an advisory panel to review child safety in Tasmanian public hospitals and health centres.
  • Progressing the closure of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre.
  • Publishing the Youth Justice Blueprint 2024-2034 to drive reform.
  • Organising a whole-of-government response to family and sexual violence through the Family Safety Secretariat in the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
  • New programs within the Department of Health Services to make sure staff can identify and respond to child sexual abuse.

These are all independent and impartial office-holders who play different roles in keeping Tasmanian children safe.

  • The Independent Regulator oversees Tasmanian organisations required to comply with the Child and Youth Safe Organisations Framework and ensures they have the support, advice and education they need to follow the Framework.
  • The Child Safety Reform Implementation Monitor is a new role that will be established in response to recommendation 22.1 of the Commission of Inquiry. The Monitor will be an independent person appointed to oversee and report directly to Parliament on the progress and effectiveness of implementation of the Commission’s recommendations by government agencies.
  • The Commissioner for Children and Young People has specific powers and functions to uphold, protect and promote the rights and wellbeing of children and young people in Tasmania. The Commissioner also has a specific function to act as an advocate for youth detainees under the Youth Justice Act 1997.
  • The Custodial Inspector oversees the Ashley Youth Detention Centre and other custodial centres run by the Tasmanian Government. The Inspector conducts inspections, publishes reports and makes recommendations about the care and welfare of detainees, and the systems of management, control and security used in custodial centres. More information is available on the Custodial Inspector website.