Child abuse spectre over 26 institutions
Joseph Catanzaro and Kate Bastians
The West Australian
11th June 2012
Updated 12th June 2012
Click on the PDF link to view a list of WA institutions involved.
More than 20 WA institutions have been implicated in cases of child abuse and neglect, The West Australian can reveal.
Religious orders and government agencies are among the long list of organisations behind the facilities that have been linked to claims including sexual, physical and psychological abuse.
The State Government has confirmed that 22 institutions were named by child victims in successful applications alleging abuse lodged under the Redress WA scheme.
Ex-gratia payouts of up to $45,000 have since been offered to victims who attended those facilities.
The latest 22 facilities implicated brings the tally of institutions in WA hit with allegations of child abuse to 26. But the Department for Communities, which was responsible for administering 5345 ex-gratia payments under the Redress WA scheme for children abused in State care, has indicated the taint of the scandal could be more widespread.
A department spokeswoman admitted the institutions were "some of the facilities" that been implicated in child abuse claims made under Redress WA.
The list came to light as a victim from one of the newly implicated institutions spoke out about the slave labour-like conditions and sexual abuse he was subjected to.
Advocates and the Greens, who along with the State Opposition have called on the Government to launch a royal commission into the growing scandal surrounding the mistreatment of youths in State care, said the new list showed the previously hidden abuse inflicted on children in WA was more widespread than has been acknowledged.
Greens MP Alison Xamon said evidence emerging showed abuse in WA was systemic.
"Anyone who has any involvement with this knows it is clear that the number of institutions involved is far bigger than what people have previously understood," she said. Noel Sharp, 76, was seven when he was placed in Parkerville Children's Home following the death of his mother. He said between 1946 and 1952, he was used as slave labour at the orphanage, which is on the new list facing allegations.
Mr Sharp says he was frequently denied schooling and instead forced to perform manual labour for up to seven hours a day.
Mr Sharp says he was sexually abused between the ages of 12 and 13 by a public servant. He shied away from going into painful detail about his ordeal.
"It was as bad as it can get," he said. "You're in bed, with an adult man on top of you, and you can't go anywhere. When I complained to the manager I got a belting for lodging a complaint."
Mr Sharp, who lodged three pages detailing abuse in his Redress WA application, received an ex-gratia payment of $28,000. Ms Xamon said it was important to note that many of the institutions linked to claims of abuse that were still providing services today, including Ngala and Wanslea, had modernised and were now "leaders in the field" in services for children and families.
Last month, _The Weekend West _revealed that 205 British child migrants sent to Fairbridge Farm School had been awarded ex-gratia payments under Redress WA.
The Clan Leavers Australian Network (CLAN), which advocates for former State wards, foster children and children raised in orphanages, said the new list showed the abuse in WA went well beyond child migrants and the stolen generation.
CLAN executive officer Leonie Sheedy backed a view held by Labor and the Greens that a royal commission could help provide justice to victims and bring perpetrators to account.
The Department for Communities spokeswoman said a breakdown of the types of abuse alleged to have occurred at the 22 institutions could not be provided because of privacy issues.
Victims of abuse can call 1800 619 795 for support.