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Published: 21 October 2019
Author: Jessica Steele and Alyssa Lewis

Camberwell Grammar School – where some students report learning fear

Over the years, Camberwell Grammar School, also known as Camberwell Church of England Grammar School, has joined the ranks of prestigious schools to be rocked by allegations of historical child abuse.

Early warning of the horrors to come

In his testimony to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse, Max Howell, former Deputy Headmaster of Camberwell Grammar School until approximately 1965, indicated that he was aware during his tenure of rumours of sexual impropriety on the school grounds involving a master’s conduct towards his students. Mr Howell gave evidence that these rumours were brought to the attention of the Headmaster and that the master in question was consequently dismissed.

Despite this warning to the School, it seems that little was done subsequently to prevent teachers from grooming young students, and history went on to repeat itself.

Trevor Alan Spurritt – paedophile masked as teacher and carer

In 2017, former Camberwell Grammar teacher Trevor Alan Spurritt was charged with 14 counts of historical indecent assault involving seven males. Some of the victims were students, whom he abused in classrooms and on school camps in the 1960s and 1970s. Whilst such vile offending often takes place behind closed doors, one-on-one, signs that Spurritt was grooming his students were uncommonly public, with Spurritt reportedly encouraging a group of students to play strip poker with him on camp.

In August 2019, Spurritt was found guilty of nine charges of indecent assault against boys under the age of 16 years. The initial guilty verdict was subject to a suppression order, with a second trial due to commence, however, this was later dismissed. Spurritt is currently released on bail and will attend a pre-sentence hearing in the County Court in November 2019.

The Age reported that the allegations relating to Spurritt’s impropriety were notified to the school four decades ago, at which point the police were contacted. It’s unclear what response, if any, was taken in relation to these allegations as Spurritt was still a registered teacher in Victoria until approximately 2016.

Although some victims have obtained legal justice for the horrors they suffered at Camberwell Grammar, the abhorrent actions of Spurritt are unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg.

RCT Law's Abuse Law practice acts for a number of survivors of abuse at Camberwell Grammar. These individuals recount horrific allegations of both physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by teachers, as well as bullying and violence from fellow students.

RCT Law specialises in civil claims for compensation for physical or sexual abuse that occurred in an institutional setting.

RCT Law is the largest Abuse Law practice in Victoria. Since the early 1990s, we have acted for more than 3,000 clients who have suffered physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, cultural abuse and/or neglect.

RCT is a pioneer in representing survivors of sexual and physical abuse. We have acted for abuse survivors for decades, back when legal obstacles made it almost impossible to take claims to court. We are still fierce advocate for the rights of those abused as children now there are fewer legal barriers to take action.

Our first appointment is free and we work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Survivors are encouraged to make an enquiry via our website, by email at enquires@rctlaw.com.au or call
1300 366 441.

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