Almost 200 Victorian schools face legal action in historic abuse case

Nearly 300 former students have lodged legal action, alleging extensive child abuse by school staff.

Almost 200 Victorian schools face legal action in historic abuse case
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More than 180 Victorian schools are facing legal action from almost 300 former students over alleged historical child abuse.

Arnold Thomas & Becker Lawyers is pursuing matters on behalf of hundreds of people who claim to have been sexually abused by schoolteachers.

The education facilities being sued include both primary and secondary, public, religious, independent and specialist schools.

More than 70 state schools are among those facing lawsuits.

Lawyer Kim Price believes more alleged victims will come forward to join the almost 300 existing claimants.

“When we first hear about abuse at a school, our investigations often reveal there are multiple victims of a single predator,” he said.

“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.”

Price alleged that some of the schools in the claim knew about allegations of abuse but failed to follow them up or even sought to cover them up.

“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,” he said.

The Victorian government announced in June the establishment of a special inquiry into allegations of abuse at Beaumaris Primary School in Melbourne’s southeast in the 1960s and 1970s.

Education Minister Natalie Hutchins said yesterday that the inquiry might be expanded in light of the fresh allegations.

Price said victims needed more than an apology and more than the $150,000 being offered to survivors under the governments capped redress scheme.

He said each of the alleged victims could be in line to receive multi-million dollar payouts.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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