Justice in sight for Parra Girls & Royal Commission wraps up big year

The law is finally catching up with alleged perpetrators of violence at the Parramatta Girls’ Training Home, with the Daily Telegraph reporting last month that police had searched the homes of former bosses Frank Valentine and Noel Greenaway. This is great news for the ‘Parra Girls’, who were waiting for action for more than 40 years.


Source: smh.com.au

A 1950s quote from the NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, RJ Heffron, summed up the societal attitudes at the time that allowed such violence against children to go unchecked.

“Deprived children, whether in their own homes or out of them, are a source of social infection as real and as serious as are carriers of diphtheria and typhoid,” Heffron said in 1956. It’s shocking to think that these words were spoken by a government minister just 60 years ago.

As 2015 drew to a close, we reviewed the progress of the Child Abuse Royal Commission. It was a big year for the Commission, which fielded more than 9300 phone inquiries, held private sessions with more than 1800 survivors, and conducted 14 full public hearings. The Salvation Army, Roman Catholic Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses and private schools like Knox Grammar in NSW and Geelong Grammar in Victoria faced scrutiny at the Commission.

The Royal Commission continued its work over Christmas and New Year, closing only for public holidays. The next public hearing will be held on 27 January and will be investigating the Church of England Boys’ Society, Hobart.

About Peter Kelso

I am a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. I have been admitted to practice since 1984. I am the principal and founder of Kelso Lawyers which has operated in Newcastle since 1986.

I have been an advocate for compensation for victims of abuse since the commencement of the Victims Compensation Tribunal in New South Wales in 1988. I conduct the largest victims practice in New South Wales. I have a high level of engagement with numerous NGOs such as woman’s refuges, sexual assault services, community organisations and healing centres.

On 31 October 2012 I was a finalist for the Justice Medal, presented by the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales.

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