Public hearing likely into sexual abuse

SEXUAL abuse survivors speaking to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse about their experiences in a particular Tasmanian institution may prompt a public investigation in the state.

Some Tasmanians have already provided evidence during private sessions in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney.

Sexual Assault Support Service chief executive Liz Little said she expected at least one public hearing to be held in Tasmania.

She said more private hearings would be held after June.

"While there might be a particular institution that we know of where a number of people have come forward, at the end of the day, the Commission has to decide if there is sufficient evidence and that they have enough witnesses willing to participate in a public hearing," Ms Little said.

Up to 30 people from the North and North-West Coast who were sexually abused as children are already receiving support from services funded by the federal government for the Royal Commission.

Hundreds more from across the state are expected to come forward once public information campaigns are ramped up.

Ms Little said a greater number of people were accessing support in the North-West.

Six months ago Laurel House, Relationships Australia and the Sexual Assault Support Service jointly received $2 million over three years from the government to fund up to eight counsellors and provide support to those affected by child abuse, and the inquiry.

The support is offered to:

•People wanting information about Royal Commission procedures.

•Those wanting to talk to the Commission about their abusive experiences or needing help deciding whether they want to talk to the Commission.

•Those having flashbacks of their abuse, triggered by media coverage.

•Family members including spouses and children.

Laurel House chief executive Margaret Dean said a public information and education campaign would be launched once confirmation had been received from the Royal Commission.

Six commissioners were formally appointed with powers under Tasmanian legislation last month.

For assistance contact:

•Laurel House: North - 6334 2740; North-West Coast - 6431 9711.

•Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277.

•Sexual Assault Support Service: South - 623 1181.


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