Scheme confirms 200 abuse victims
13th June 2012
Updated 14th June 2012
Almost 200 child abuse victims who spent time at two Mid West institutions were awarded compensation packages under the Redress WA scheme.
Geraldton residential care facility Nazareth House and Tardun Farm School in Mullewa were among 26 WA institutions exposed in allegations of child abuse and neglect by The West Australian.
The Department for Communities, which handed out ex-gratia payments up to $45,000 under the Redress WA scheme, revealed 197 victims mentioned Tardun Farm School and Nazareth House in their applications.
The department confirmed a total of 219 claimants mentioned the two institutions in applications.
Leoni Sheedy, chief executive officer of The Care Leavers Australia Network, an organisation for orphans and foster children, believed there were more potential applicants.
“Australian society hasn’t acknowledged what happened to children in orphanages,” she said.
“If society hasn’t acknowledged it the victims can’t acknowledge it to themselves.”
Catholic diocese of Geraldton Bishop Justin Bianchini said the Sisters of Nazareth and the Christian Brothers had helped abuse victims for the last 20 years with a “towards healing service”.
He said the service included counselling and compensation payments.
“They’ve been dealing with cases of abuse with people who have come forward and they have dealt with it seriously,” he said.
“It’s done with a view to help and heal people who have been abused to heal and that is very different to redress, where they just hand out money.”
Nazareth House, now an agedcare centre, was a childcare facility from 1941 to 1977.
Tardun Farm School catered for child orphans between 1928 and 1967.
Bishop Bianchini said the church was assisting victims today and urged others to come forward.
“If they have been abused, the church invites them to come forward,” he said.
“Sure, we’ve failed them.
“In times gone by we wouldn’t have said that but we realise damage has been done and we want to address it.”
Coorow resident Noel Sharp claims he was sexually abused in an orphan facility.
The 76-year-old said he knew of several victims who were abused at Tardun and Nazareth House, but were too afraid to air their experiences.
“It’s due to the effort of years of brainwashing, that’s what it is,” he said.