Tasmanian foster carer 'broke girl's arm'

·2-min read

Azra Beach was just four when her foster mother broke her arm and then slapped her for crying too much.

The Tasmanian woman says she is still chasing an apology for the physical and sexual abuse suffered while under state care.

Ms Beach gave evidence on Thursday at a commission of inquiry examining child sexual abuse in Tasmanian government institutions, which is this week focusing on out-of-home care.

She was sexually abused by two men known to her foster family.

"I know it was wrong love, but it was the only affection and only love I was really shown throughout my younger years," Ms Beach said.

She said she felt hated by her foster mother and was routinely hit with a belt.

Ms Beach recalled child safety services visiting the house once, before she was "bounced around" to a group home when her foster mother "needed a break".

"They left me in the care of a family based on their position within the community," she said.

Ms Beach said she is still without an apology from the state government, despite assurances from a "very prominent" politician that it was being "chased up''.

"The day before I met with the commission to talk about my experience I had a little bit to say (to the politician) and then blocked him, because I'm still waiting," she said.

"You can't be dragging your feet with stuff like this. No one should have to chase up their own apology."

Ms Beach sought compensation through the National Redress Scheme, eventually taking what she described as dirty money after a lengthy process.

"I had to dig through every bit of trauma to even get the offer I was given," she said.

"I haven't even really started addressing my sexual abuse in therapy. We're probably in survival mode still."

The inquiry, which is set to hand down a final report by May 2023, has been told on average one allegation of child sexual abuse is reported within the out-of-home care system each week.

The state government has already pledged to adopt all recommendations.

Nicola Crates, a director at Possability which supports children in out-of-home care with complex needs, told the inquiry information gets lost in a fractured system.

"Not just that highly confidential type of information or information about sexual harm. Just basic things about children like what do they like to do," she said.

" ... so when you're trying to set up a placement ... you don't know what kind of activities they would like to have.

"It's a reflection on a system that really struggles to maintain workers."

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