Inquiry announced into child sexual abuse in state school

child sexual abuse

The Victorian Government has recently approved an inquiry into historical cases of child sexual abuse at Beaumaris Primary School, a government-run institution in Victoria, Australia.

There are already demands to extend the inquiry to all Victoria state schools.

The initial inquiry will investigate abuse that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s, as well as ongoing abuse committed by Beaumaris employees at other schools.

The investigation will establish an official record of the experiences of school victim-survivors and examine allegations of abuse by the three staff members, who also worked at other government schools.

Approximately $4.5 million is being set aside to support victim-survivors and run the inquiry, which could be expanded to investigate instances of historical abuse at other schools under its terms of reference.

“This is not in any way diminishing the experience of anybody at any other school,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“But the circumstances at Beaumaris Primary School all those decades ago are unique, given there were multiple victims, multiple offenders, multiple predators at the one time.”

Beaumaris “the tip of the iceberg”

There are demands to extend the inquiry to include all government-run schools in Victoria, as Beaumaris is seen as just “the tip of the iceberg,” according to Victorian MP Brad Roswell.

Premier Andrews said at least three school staff members at the time are believed to be involved in what he described as vile, evil and predatory behaviour towards students.

“This is principally a truth-telling process and one that is about providing people with that certainty that they are heard, they are believed,” Andrews told reporters.

“That is an important part of healing, it’s an important part of justice.”

More than five years have passed since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse concluded its final report and recommendations. The Royal Commission provided a platform for approximately 8,000 survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experiences.

No government school examined

Reportedly, 35.7 percent of survivors reported abuse within Catholic-run institutions, while 32.5 percent reported abuse within government-run institutions.

Despite the comparable proportions of allegations, Catholic-run institutions were the focus of twice as many public hearings as government-run schools, with no government school being examined during a public hearing.

The Royal Commission conducted five separate public hearings on Catholic schools and an additional six hearings on schools affiliated with other faith groups. However, government schools were not considered, aside from a couple of special schools that no longer exist.

The closest the Royal Commission came to addressing abuse in normal government schools was through the testimony of a single witness from the NSW Department of Education regarding student-on-student sexual abuse.

Charges were laid last month against an 82-year-old Queensland man as part of an ongoing police investigation into reported sexual assaults linked to the Beaumaris school.

The former teacher is set to face court on 26 counts of indecent assault dating back to the 1960s and 1970s.


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