Published: 04 December 2012
Author: Ryan Carlisle Thomas
Western Australian Government announces limited redress scheme
The Western Australian Government has announced a limited Redress Scheme for people who were abused as children in Western Australian hostels. The Country High Schools Hostels Authority was set up in 1960 to provide a boarding service for Western Australian secondary school students who did not live close to a secondary school.
The Western Australian Government announced the scheme following the findings of an inquiry into sexual abuse at the St Andrew's Hostel in Katanning which was one of the hostels run by the Authority.
The Special Inquiry into St Andrew's Hostel in Katanning began in December 2011 and was recently completed. The government appointed the Hon. Peter Blaxell to examine the response of government officials and agencies to allegations of sexual abuse at St Andrew's Hostel in Katanning and related organisations.
The Inquiry found that there had been systemic failings in the way the Country High Schools Hostel Authority governed hostels between 1975 and 1990 and that these systemic failings contributed to the sexual and other abuse of students at St Andrew's Hostel, Katanning and St Christopher's Hostel in Northam.
Anyone who was subjected to abuse while boarding at one of the 28 facilities run by the Country High School Hostels Authority between 1960 and 2006 can apply for an ex-gratia payment of up to $45,000.
Applications can be submitted from 30th November 2012. Applications will close on May 31 2013. There is a short window of opportunity for victims to apply for compensation and even though the ex gratia amount is modest, in many cases, claimants would not be able to sue under Western Australian law because of very strict limitation periods (ie the time allowed for civil proceedings to be issued) and also difficulties of proof in historical abuse claims.
Ryan Carlisle Thomas pursued WA Redress claims for dozens of children abused in care. That scheme also had a maximum payment of $45,000 and was wound up on 30th June 2011.
If you were abused in a school run by the Country Schools Hostels Authority, contact our office on email@example.com or phone us to register now.