Survivor says she was ‘honoured’ to be chosen to share her story with Tasmania’s child sexual abuse commission of inquiry

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Rachel* says her mother Anne* was her saviour.

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains details that may cause distress. 

The young mother, who was working two jobs to support her family, was the one who reported that her daughter was being sexually abused by a teacher.

“I am forever thankful and grateful to her for saving me. She is very much my saviour … she’s such a brave person and she is my idol. I will forever be thankful,” Rachel said.

Anne made a report about the teacher — Wayne* — after a sporting trip she went on as a guardian with her daughter and Wayne in 2005.

The Tasmanian child sexual abuse commission of inquiry heard the allegations included that Wayne had tucked Rachel into bed, had physical contact with her, gave her alcohol, told her she had a “nice arse”, and drew a penis on her leg.

Two further allegations were later added.

A two-year investigation, commissioned by the Education Department, followed, and Rachel told the commission neither she nor her mother were supported through the process.

She wants to be an advocate for children and parents.

“I’ve seen how it has affected my mother and being a parent myself now, I just feel that connection so deep and so heavily,” she said.

The allegations Anne made were upheld, but it was determined Wayne had not breached the State Service Code of Conduct because the behaviour was either “not in the course of employment” or, in the case of one of them, was “not sufficient to bring the state service into disrepute”.

Further allegations not investigated

The commission heard the allegations of abuse had gone further than Rachel’s mother realised.

Rachel told the commission it took her until 2007 to muster the courage to make a full disclosure to the investigators.

The commission heard those allegations — that Wayne had kissed her, including after she had said no, that he had sexually touched her, talked to her about her private life, gave her alcohol, told her they could date after Rachel turned 18 and told her that he loved her — were not investigated.

Education Department secretary Tim Bullard told the commission the 2007 allegations “absolutely … should have been investigated”.

About nine days after Rachel’s 2007 disclosure, the department received further allegations against Wayne relating to other students. The commission heard those allegations were not investigated either.

The commission heard the then-department secretary, however, sent Wayne a letter saying “all current investigations are now concluded and I consider these matters to be at an end”.

Rachel, meanwhile, heard nothing until she saw a public notice from the Education Department in her local newspaper that said Wayne had not breached the State Service code of conduct.

Speaking outside the commission, Rachel, who no longer lives in Tasmania, said the public notice was “horrific”.

The commission heard that the Education Department wrote to the Teachers Registration Board telling it the investigations into Wayne had concluded and that the Australian Education Union wrote a letter of support to the board.

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