In July 2003 the Tasmanian state government announced a review of claims of abuse from adults who had been in care as children. The Review was a co-operative undertaking between the Ombudsman’s office and the Department of Health and Human Services, but was carried out by the Ombudsman, Ms Jan O’Grady.
The Ombudsman’s task was:
- To assess each claim of past abuse and make recommendations to the Department for individual reparation, apart from the ex-gratia payment
- To prepare a report for the Minister for Health and Human Services with a general overview of the information collected.
- To identify any issues relevant to current practice which had emerged from the Review, along with appropriate recommendations.
The announcement of the inquiry, by the Minister for Health, David Llewellyn, followed a report on ABC Television's Stateline program on 11 July 2003 of a Hobart man who claimed he was raped repeatedly after being placed into the foster care of a convicted male paedophile in the early 1960s. Cases presented to the inquiry spanned more than 40 years, and alleged emotional, physical or sexual abuse inflicted on Tasmanian children in foster care or state institutions.
Six weeks after the Review began, the Premier, the late Jim Bacon, announced that ex-gratia payments of up to $60,000 would be available. A QC, Peter Cranswick, was appointed as the Independent Assessor of such claims.
On December 6, 2004, the Premier, Paul Lennon, made a formal apology on behalf of his government, and said the ex-gratia payments of $60,000 were expected to total more than $10 million. They are the first by a state government anywhere in Australia. He said that the payments will be made to more than 200 people who had so far notified the government of their complaints. The government would also pay for financial and legal advice for survivors.
‘The state government understands that no amount of money can ever make up for what has happened to the victims of abuse in state care’, said Mr Lennon. ‘I do not want to see this process drawn out and I want people to achieve some measure of closure as soon as possible.’
This inquiry eventually continued into 2005 but it is now closed. However, if you want more information about it, or a copy of its report, you can contact the Ombudsman’s office.
How to contact the Ombudsman’s office:
The Final Report of the Ombudsman’s Review is called “Listen to the Children Review of Claims of Abuse from Adults in State Care as Children”, November 2004. You can access it at:
- click on Publications in the lefthand column
Note: Care leavers should be aware that by signing acceptance of the payment, they apparently lose their right to take any further action about their abuse. If you have concerns about accepting the payment, you should seek legal advice, or contact CLAN to discuss it.