Ensuring Safety Of Tasmanian Children And Young People

Guy Barnett, Attorney General

The Tasmanian Government is committed to ensuring the safety of our children and young people, including by implementing the 191 recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry.

The Justice Miscellaneous (Commission of Inquiry) Bill 2024 tabled in Parliament today implements, in whole or part, several of the Commission’s recommendations which required legislative reform.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Guy Barnett, said these amendments and the Commission’s corresponding recommendations are about protecting children, improving the law’s response to victim-survivors of child sexual abuse, and holding offenders to account.

“This is one of two Bills we will be tabling this week which seeks to keep our children and young people safe and ensure those who commit offences against children are dealt with appropriately,” the Attorney-General said.

“This strong legislative response is further evidence of our commitment to progressing all the important reforms arising from the Commission’s work as soon as possible.

“The Bill was subject to a public and stakeholder consultation process, which included meetings with key stakeholders as well as two open consultation sessions.

“We want Tasmania to be the best it possibly can be under our 2030 Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future and protecting our most vulnerable is something we are all responsible for.”

The amendments to criminal and civil law include:

  • ensuring organisations can make meaningful apologies for past child sexual abuse;
  • extending offences for child sexual abuse in the Criminal Code;
  • allowing evidence relating to summary charges discontinued in certain circumstances to be used as relationship, tendency or coincidence evidence in later, different sexual or family violence offence proceedings; and
  • providing that any alleged consent or acquiescence of a victim of child sexual abuse is not a mitigating factor in determining the appropriate sentence for the offender.

The Bill also amends the Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013 by providing further statutory guidance to the Registrar, reinforcing that suspension or cancellation of registration to work with children, including immediate suspension, is mandatory in certain circumstances.

The recommendations addressed by 17.4 this Bill are numbered 16.9, 16.13, 16.14, 16.18, 17.5 and 18.12.

/Public Release. View in full here.