‘Make them take responsibility’
Today, youth worker Ashley Cadd, represented by Aaron Kernaghan, Solicitor, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that a Superintended of a juvenile facility in Victoria had “virtually nothing” to do with those on the coal face.
Mr Cadd worked at Turana between 1968 and 1979 and said the children were too frightened of staff to report sexual abuse.
He told the commission the staff were given “Mickey Mouse” training and there were no specific policies in the Turana manual on dealing with sexual abuse or what was termed “unnatural acts”.
Mr Cadd told the inquiry the supervision of boys at night was “horrifically” inadequate, with one officer trying to watch rooms through a slot in the door, and unable to turn the light on.
“You might have four or five children in a room, but you couldn’t see through the slot,” he said.
Mr Cadd said the boys were treated deplorably by a department that should have been exercising the role of parents.
“They [the boys] may have been offenders but they’re human beings starting on the journey of life,” he said.
“I’m near the end of mine. But so help me God, I hope somebody puts the proverbial rocket under the department and make them take responsibility for what they’ve undertaken and sworn to do, but never carried out.”
He added: “You can’t rectify what was done in the past but you can damn we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Earlier this week, the royal commission heard that more than 200 former residents of state care had suffered ongoing trauma, including nightmares and mental health issues, as a result of abuse they suffered at the hands of staff and other residents.
The hearing continues in Melbourne and is expected to last into next week.
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