The Tasmanian Government is today pleased to announce the appointment of two highly renowned and respected international experts to lead the Inquiry into the Department of Education’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Tasmanian Government Schools.

The Inquiry, which was announced by the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Training Jeremy Rockliff on 27 August 2020, will provide the Government with advice on the adequacy of existing legislation, policies, practices and procedures utilised by the Department of Education to minimise the risk of child sexual abuse within Tasmanian Government Schools. The work of this Inquiry builds on the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to implement the key recommendations aimed at the prevention of child abuse made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Professor Stephen Smallbone is an internationally recognised expert on understanding and preventing sexual violence and abuse against children in institutional settings. Professor Smallbone provided advice to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as an independent expert witness in two of the Commission’s public hearings, and acted as a reviewer for a number of the Commission’s research papers.

Professor Tim McCormack has developed a global reputation for his expertise in international humanitarian law and international criminal law. Professor McCormack is currently a Special Adviser on International Humanitarian Law to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, a Professor of International Law at the University of Tasmania Law School and is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School.

Professor Smallbone and Professor McCormack will be supported by the Department of Justice’s Child Abuse Royal Commission Response Unit, led by Ms Amber Mignot. These appointments have been made by me as Attorney-General, following a referral by the Minister for Education.

I would like to formally thank Professor Smallbone and Professor McCormack for agreeing to lead this Inquiry, and for their passion and commitment to ensuring the safety of Tasmanian children.

The Inquiry welcomes the views of any interested parties, including survivors, and invites public submissions. Submissions can be made to the Inquiry in a variety of ways and support to make a submission can be provided. Anyone who would like to make a submission can contact the Inquiry via email at inquiry@justice.tas.gov.au or by phone on (03) 6165 4862.

The Inquiry represents part of the Tasmanian Government’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that all children and young people in our schools are safe and supported to reach their full potential.

The work of the Royal Commission and the Tasmanian Government’s response may be distressing to some people in our community. If at any time anyone feels that they would like to speak with someone, there are services and support groups that can help.

Some options for advice include:

  • 1800 Respect;
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14;
  • Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) on 1800 697 877;
  • Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277;
  • The National Redress Scheme Information Line on 1800 146 713.

Elise Archer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice