A recent independent inquiry into responses to child sexual abuse in Tasmanian schools found that the State spent decades protecting paedophile teachers and ignoring complaints made by victims.
The inquiry found that, from the 1970s right through until the 1990s, Tasmania’s response to sexual abuse complaints in schools “routinely involved deflecting or ignoring concerns and complaints, often by disbelieving or blaming students, and by shielding alleged or known sexual abusers.”
The inquiry found that notorious paedophile offenders such as Darrel George Harington and Anthony LeClerc were permitted to keep teaching for decades, despite senior officials being aware of a string of sexual abuse complaints made by students.
They were simply moved from school to school each time allegations were made.
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Many believe the problem is not an isolated one and that many more offenders were protected over the years. In 2020, Former State Minister and child protection advocate Allison Ritchie commented that she had been made aware of “quite a number of historical cases involving principals or senior teaching staff” in situations where “those people [are] able to continue employment within the Education Department”.
The independent inquiry report concluded that officials “very often acted in ways that were completely at odds with community expectations at the time” and that, unfortunately, this culture was not entirely a thing of the past. They noted that there were still “very recent” examples of state schools disbelieving the complaints of abused students.
Records confirm that over 194 incidents of abuse in Tasmanian State schools had been reported since the 1960s, with these abuses occurring at 92 different schools. The school with the most complaints was Taroona High School, followed by Rosny College and Wynyard High School.
A Commission of Inquiry has since been established to examine Tasmania’s responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings, with a final report due to be delivered by 31 August 2023.
At Kelso Lawyers, we believe even one victim of child abuse is too many. Institutions must be exposed and held responsible for the horrific crimes perpetrated against innocent young people. We represent child sexual abuse survivors all over Australia and have extracted millions in compensation from powerful institutions.
If you were abused in a Tasmanian school, we want to hear from you. We will fight for you. Click here to share your story, or call us on (02) 4907 4200.
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