Earlier this week, our CEO Jill Maxwell had the honour of providing evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government's response to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings.
Throughout this week the Commission's hearings have received evidence from various community service organisations. Additionally, a number of victim/survivors have shown courage and strength as they have shared their own lived experience with the Commission.
Jill says it has been an emotional and challenging week for many people, however the importance of the Commission of Inquiry is very clear.
"From the time the Commission of Inquiry was established in March 2021, it's been an important focus for us at SASS" says Jill.
"In our written submission, as well as my evidence at the hearing on Tuesday morning, I have been very mindful that we are not only representing SASS - we are representing many of our clients, both past and present."
"The evidence shared by my professional peers, and particularly by the survivors, has been difficult to listen to at times but I genuinely believe that the Commission can provide the impetus for things to change."
A summary of some of the key points shared by Jill with the Commission is listed below:
- over the past 6 years SASS has experienced a growth in demand for counselling services of 162%
- we currently have approximately 90 clients on a wait list, who are being provided with crisis support but awaiting allocation to an ongoing counsellor
- our core funding has remained the same for the past 5 years (with CPI increases)
- we have received additional funding from State and Commonwealth Governments to meet specific service demands, for example COVID funding, and national partnership funding.
"I would like to extend my thanks to those survivors who have spoken at the hearings, or shared their experiences with the Commission of Inquiry through other means," says Jill.
"Everyone at SASS is aware of the courage that this takes. We also know that it can be triggering, so I want to remind people to reach out for support if you need."
About the Commission of Inquiry
The Commission of Inquiry was established in March 2021 by order of the Governor of Tasmania. It is equivalent to a royal commission and is independent of the Tasmanian Government.
The Commission’s inquiry focus is on the adequacy and appropriateness of the Tasmanian Government’s current responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts. Details about the scope of the inquiry, giving evidence, hearings and consultations can be found on the website https://www.commissionofinquiry.tas.gov.au/home