Tas abuse inquiry prompts public forums

·2-min read

Tasmania's health department will hold community forums as it aims to rebuild trust after harrowing accounts of child sexual abuse and systemic failures were heard at a commission of inquiry.

The inquiry, which is examining abuse allegations across the state's public service, has been told of a series of "catastrophic" failures in relation to former Launceston General Hospital nurse James Geoffrey Griffin.

Griffin took his own life in 2019 after being charged with multiple child sexual abuse offences.

He had worked in the children's ward at the hospital for almost 20 years.

The inquiry has been told of hospital, government and police failures spanning decades in responding to red flags about Griffin and when survivors came forward and reported abuse.

Health Department secretary Kathrine Morgan-Wicks on Friday announced plans to hold community forums.

"The department of health and the (hospital) acknowledge the strength of feeling within the northern Tasmanian community following the evidence given," she said.

"Members of the community will be invited to share their concerns, ideas and priorities as we move forward and begin the process of rebuilding trust in the (hospital) where it has been eroded."

Ms Morgan-Wicks has been recalled to give evidence during the final five days of inquiry hearings beginning on Wednesday.

Executive director of medical services at the hospital, Peter Renshaw, who the inquiry has been told received reports of abuse by Griffin, will give evidence for the first time.

The state government is conducting a child safe governance review to improve procedures at the hospital.

The inquiry in late August focused on the state's Ashley Youth Detention Centre, which was described as having a "culture of brutality".

Former detainees said they were raped, bashed and belittled by staff at the centre, which the state government has pledged to close by the end of 2024 despite calls for it to shut immediately.