September 27, 2023 5:18 am

Legal action imminent against nearly 200 Victorian schools in historic abuse case.

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More than 180 schools in the state of Victoria are facing legal action from nearly 300 former students who allege they were victims of historical child abuse. Arnold Thomas & Becker Lawyers have taken up the cases on behalf of hundreds of individuals who claim to have been sexually abused by schoolteachers across various education facilities, including primary and secondary schools, public and religious institutions, independent schools, and specialist schools. Among those facing lawsuits are over 70 state schools.

According to lawyer Kim Price, it is expected that more alleged victims will come forward to join the existing claimants. Price stated, “When we first hear about abuse at a school, our investigations often reveal there are multiple victims of a single predator. School should be a place where children feel safe. Instead, we are hearing from students from across the country that they have been subjected to sexual abuse by teachers and other members of school staff.”

The lawyer also alleged that some of the schools mentioned in the claim were aware of the abuse allegations but failed to properly address them or tried to cover them up. Price emphasized, “We are working with hundreds of clients who, as children, endured severe sexual, physical, and psychological abuse throughout their formative years, and that has had a profound impact on the rest of their lives.”

In response to the fresh allegations, the Victorian government announced in June the establishment of a special inquiry into allegations of abuse at Beaumaris Primary School in Melbourne’s southeast during the 1960s and 1970s. Education Minister Natalie Hutchins revealed that the inquiry might be expanded in light of the new claims.

However, Price argued that the victims need more than just an apology or the $150,000 being offered to survivors under the government’s capped redress scheme. He stated that each of the alleged victims could potentially receive multi-million dollar payouts, recognizing the long-lasting impact of the abuse they suffered.

The legal actions targeting Victorian schools are part of a broader effort in recent years to address historical child abuse across various institutions in Australia. Schools, churches, sports organizations, and other institutions have faced numerous lawsuits and inquiries as survivors of abuse come forward to seek justice and accountability.

The legal proceedings serve as a crucial step in uncovering the truth, supporting survivors, and holding institutions accountable for their failure to protect children from abuse. The cases also highlight the need for continued efforts to prevent and address child abuse in educational settings, ensuring that schools are safe and nurturing environments for every student.

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Original Source: Legal action imminent against nearly 200 Victorian schools in historic abuse case.

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