Police in Western Australia have put together a task force to investigate allegations that child abuse took place under state care. These allegations were made as a part of the Redress WA scheme for children abused in state care. This was one of the many allegations that was made when the Government’s ex gratia scheme was exposed in Parliament in 2012.
The allegations are that the children had been significantly physically and sexually abused while in state care and the Government did not act immediately to uncover the individuals responsible for the abuse. In addition, the revelations also revealed that over 5000 ex gratia payments were made as a part of Redress WA with over 1000 of the payments being compensation for “very severe” sexual, emotional or physical abuse. These children in many cases continued to suffer with issues even when they got older and became adults.
The scope of the abuse cases have spanned decades of time and many of the victims are no longer children but are now adults or are elderly. In some cases the justice did not reach the victims at all, not because the perpetrators involved were not located but because of the age of the cases and the individuals involved in the incidents. Some of the victims unfortunately died before receiving their payouts and it was estimated that this number equalled about 120 of the alleged victims of the child abuse while under state care. They were expected to being receiving the payouts but were unable to collect and their families were also unable to collect on their behalf.
The article does not cite why compensation was not offered to the families of the victim as the child abuse of the victim may have greatly impacts the families as well in the face of the damages cause by abuse.
With some of the abuse cases dating back to the 1940s, the Greens MP Alison Xamon noted that time is running out to prosecute the individuals responsible for the offences with some offenders likely reaching old ages or having died before being caught. The goal of the current investigation is to find these perpetrators and being them to justice so that the victims, some of which may now be elderly can finally receive justice.
The MP has also requested that the Premier Colin Barnet investigate the circumstances that lead up to the abuses so that they would not be repeated by state facilities again. A main issue is that some of the people who were given access to the children who they abused were approved by the state to work with children.
The MP has also requested that a Royal Commission would provide some assistance to help bring these sex offenders to justice if one were to be put in place. In addition the Premier added that he would not take actions under the Government investigated a prior incident at St. Andrew’s Hostel. The investigation was set to last between 12 and 18 months.