School sex abuse survivors refunded tuition fees
THE Anglican Diocese of Southern Queensland will refund tuition and boarding fees to victims of sexual abuse in what has been hailed a first by child protection advocates.
The refund policy will be applied to victims of abuse at 20 schools, including a Toowoomba institution, which have been at the centre of child sex abuse controversies in the past.
The diocese will soon begin advertising and contacting victims of abuse in order to refund the tuition fees which will go to the parents or guardians of the victims in the first instance.
However, should the parents be deceased - a possibility in some cases because some abuse cases date back 25 years as is the case for Toowoomba victims - the funds will go to their estates or directly to the former students.
But it is not official policy of the Anglican Church of Australia for fees to be refunded, Brisbane Anglican Archbishop Dr Phillip Aspinall warned.
"The Diocese of Brisbane's decision to refund fees came after much consideration and it is entirely up to other institutions whether they follow suit," he said.
"We urge anyone who has been sexually abused in the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane to contact us so that we can provide assistance."
The victim of paedophile boarding master Kevin Guy was awarded a landmark $834,800 payout in 2001 after a court trial which exposed the diocese of covering up the abuse of at least two girls at a Toowoomba school in 1990.
The court heard Guy sexually assaulted the complainant girl up to 30 times in a school common room where they would meet at night.
Complaints from students, parents and staff were ignored or not adequately investigated, the court was told.
Guy committed suicide in December 1990 before he was called to give evidence in criminal proceedings regarding the sexual abuse.
Former students are urging others to contact Knowmore, a free independent legal service established by the Federal Government to support survivors of child abuse during the Royal Commission. The Brisbane office can be contacted on 1800 605 762 and 07 3218 4500