Published: 29 July 2020
Author: Ian Dallas
Railways changes should not prevent making abuse claims
The criminal sexual abuse by volunteers connected to railway organisations, and the organisational deficiencies exposed by the Victorian Ombudsman last year, are now having a significant impact on these bodies. But these changes need not deter anyone who wishes to make a compensation claim against them.
What are the changes?
The most recent announcement is that the Australian Railway Historical Society (Vic)(ARHS), an organisation that was established in the 1930s, is winding up its activities. The Society explains that this in part due to a number of civil claims made against it by those who as children were abused by volunteers.
It is notable that the Newport Railway Museum which has for many years been run by the ARHS, is to continue under the management of a new organisation. This will no doubt provoke significant concern and upset for those who as children suffered significant harm at the museum at the hands of volunteers who promoted and exploited a culture of abuse. The memories are not easily expunged.
While the winding up of the ARHS means that in the future claims cannot be made against that body, anyone who was abused at the Museum or through any activity related to ARHS, should contact a member of the RCT Law Abuse team for further advice.
Changes won’t prevent claims
The team at RCT has had significant recent experience in acting for a number of men who as boys suffered significant harm through their involvement in railway organisations.
What has become apparent to us in the course of investigating these claims is that these organisations, such as the Puffing Billy Preservation Society, ARHS and Victorian Railways were tightly enmeshed. What was known in one organisation was generally known in another, as the same personnel were generally involved at one time or another in all three organisations.
The most well-known paedophile perpetrator in these circles is Robert Whitehead, since convicted and now deceased. We are aware of others, including Jim Seletto and Anthony Hutchins, and have no doubt that there are many other perpetrators and survivor/victims of this abuse.
Our team remains ready to hear your stories and provide clear and straightforward advice about your options to claim compensation.