Assault evidence limited, Tas inquiry told

·2-min read

A former Tasmanian government worker has told a sexual abuse inquiry limited evidence was gathered about an "obvious" serious child-on-child assault in the state's out-of-home care system.

A commission of inquiry into Tasmanian government responses to child sexual abuse in public institutions is this week examining out-of-home care.

The ex-Department of Communities worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said a girl was taken to a GP who lacked forensic training after allegedly being sexually assaulted by a boy.

"The GP did identify there was physical harm and injury to the child," she said on Wednesday.

"But the evidence was limited because the child safety officer was unaware of the fact that forensic medical practitioners even existed within our health system."

She said it was concluded there had been inappropriate sexual activity but there had been no force from the boy.

"It was considered a mutual act and therefore the boy would not be investigated," she said.

"It was so obvious to me that there had been a serious assault perpetrated by a young boy.

"I wasn't looking to blame or sanction that child. He actually needed intervention to support him to understand that behaviour was wrong and to set him on a better pathway."

The former worker also told the inquiry of concerns about a male child safety officer breaching boundaries by allowing kids to stay at his home overnight with the "unofficial" approval of management.

The officer also allegedly asked to stay in contact with a child after no longer being involved with their case, and gave one kid a gift, telling them to keep it a secret.

"They (management) certainly were aware and I personally had meetings and discussions about some of those breaches," she said.

"I was really told there was nothing to worry about. 'That's just (him)' was kind of the language.

"Where boundaries are not adhered, it creates an environment for potential sexual abuse.

"I don't know anything about whether (he) is a potential abuser, but we know there are opportunities being created by these boundary breaches."

Clinical practice consultant Jack Davenport, who also worked with the department, said management were intimidated by the officer and red flags built up about his conduct.

"There were lots of oblique references to concerns about him ... but no ... action being taken," he said.

The inquiry on Tuesday was told there was on average one child sexual abuse allegation a week within Tasmania's out-of-home care system.

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