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Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia

The Commonwealth Government has established a national Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances of, and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia (http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au​).

The Commission commenced its public work in 2013.

This has an impact on a number of Tasmanian government agencies.  Documents required for the Royal Commission must not be destroyed even if an approved disposal schedule or disposal authorisation is in place.  All records relevant to the investigation or inquiry must be identified and preserved until it is completed.  This includes historical records.

It is clear that the Royal Commission has a broad scope, and a major focus will be on institutional responses to child abuse. This will include the responses of institutions which receive reports of child abuse, those that investigate allegations of child abuse, and those that alleviate the impact of child abuse. A range of Tasmanian agencies may be required to provide evidence to the Commission.

Accordingly all Tasmanian government agencies should ensure that any records that may be relevant to the Commission are protected from destruction until further notice.  This requires agencies to suspend the application of their Retention and Disposal Schedules or Destruction Authorities in respect of certain matters, for example in respect of case records of allegations or investigations of child sexual abuse matters.  Once established, it is an offence under section 6k of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) to wilfully destroy any document or writing that is or may be required in evidence before a Royal Commission of Inquiry.  The State Archivist has contacted heads of Tasmanian Government Agencies to communicate this requirement.

If you are aware of sets of records that will be relevant to the Royal Commission can you please alert your Agencies’ Executive and TAHO of their existence and prepare them for access.

TAHO has released a Guideline on Records and Document required for Legal Proceedings which is available under the topic 'Legal' on our tools page

If you have any queries, or require further guidance please contact the Government Information Strategy Unit.