Victims of sexual abuse and their supporters have rallied outside the first hearing of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Perth today.
The commission will hear testimonies from those who were in the care of the Christian Brothers between 1947 and 1967 in various locations across the state.
Care Leavers Australia Network coordinated the rallies to raise awareness of the issue.
CLAN executive officer Leonie Sheedy said the time had come for the Christian Brothers to be held accountable for the crimes committed against children in their care, many of whom were migrants.
International Association of Former Child Migrants’ president Norm Johnston said although the victims had received apologies from the British and Australian governments and the Catholic Church, apologies without restitution were “absolutely hollow”.
“We’ve been fighting this fight for the last 27 years,” Mr Johnston said.
“Right now they’re saying ‘the hurt stops here’, this is the last hurrah.
“We’ve got the most powerful body in the country at the moment, the Royal Commission, looking into the abuse and deprivations that happened to all these people.”
The commission is inquiring into the experience of children who stayed at Christian Brothers homes including Castledare Junior Orphanage, St Vincent’s Orphanage Clontarf, St Mary’s Agricultural School Tardun and Bindoon Farm School.
It will investigate the Christian Brothers and WA state authorities’ responses to abuse allegations and examine the experiences of victims who sought compensation or assistance from the Christian Brothers, and the effectiveness of the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing process and the WA Redress scheme.