Privacy may limit release of abuse report

Steven Marshall says privacy issues may prevent the full release of a SA report into child abuse.
Steven Marshall says privacy issues may prevent the full release of a SA report into child abuse.

Privacy issues may prevent the full public release of an independent review into the reporting practices of South Australia's Department for Child Protection after two abuse cases involving teenage girls in state care.

Former District Court judge Paul Rice is due to hand his report to the state government on Tuesday.

His review was launched after it was revealed that Child Protection Minister Rachel Sanderson was not told about the cases until the offenders were sentenced.

In the first case, Matthew McIntyre was jailed in September last year for sex offences committed against a 13-year-old girl.

In December, Philip McIntosh was also jailed for maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a girl aged between 13 and 14.

Both victims were under the guardianship of the chief executive of the Department for Child Protection at the time of the offending.

The independent inquiry has examined and assessed the failure to advise the minister of the charges against the two men and examined the department's critical incident policies and procedures.

It also looked at the adequacy of existing disciplinary processes for department staff who failed to comply with their obligations under the reporting procedures and considered if those procedures were adequate.

Premier Steven Marshall said the report would first go before state cabinet before any wider release, either in full or in a redacted form.

But he said the government had to be mindful of the privacy of the two young girls.

"We also don't know what the author's intentions are with that report," Mr Marshall told reporters on Tuesday.

"There are very important privacy considerations.

"We're not committing to a full release because we don't know whether this would breach some of the privacy concerns and they are absolutely paramount."

But the premier said if the report called for extra resources to respond to its recommendations then they would be provided.

He said the government maintained the lack of information the minister received about the two cases was unacceptable.

"We will immediately review the contents and we will apply the resources that are necessary to make sure we are kept informed about these critical incidents," Mr Marshall said.

But opposition child protection spokeswoman Katrine Hildyard said other than aspects that had the potential to harm the children concerned, the report must be released in full.

She said the community had a right to know what led to the two terrible cases of abuse and that everything possible was being done to ensure the same mistakes would not be repeated.

"South Australian children deserve so much better," she said.

"Our community deserves an open and transparent government. It deserves to know what on earth led to these failings."

Australian Associated Press