Premier Allan acknowledges failure to the children of Beaumaris

Premier Jacinta Allan released a statement on Wednesday 19 June. Picture: ON FILE

The Premier has released a statement addressing the Beaumaris inquiry on Wednesday 19 June.

Earlier this year, the Board of Inquiry handed down its report into historical child sexual abuse in Beaumaris Primary School and certain other government schools.

Among the investigated primary schools were Beaumaris, Beaconsfield Upper, Bunyip, Cranbourne, Dandenong North, Dandenong West, Drouin South and Emerald.

The report investigated child sexual abuse by multiple staff members at Beaumaris Primary School during the 1960s and 1970s, and alleged abuse that they perpetrated at other government schools.

Premier Jacinta Allan said in her statement that the Victorian Government has accepted each of the reports recommendations.

“In doing so, we make a clear and simple acknowledgement: we failed,” she said.

We failed to keep these children safe.

We failed to listen when they spoke out.

We failed to act to ensure that it did not happen again.

As the Board’s report put so plainly – it was a failure that was both serious and systemic.

It was also a failure of morality.

What else can it possibly be – when the reputation of the education system was given higher regard than the safety of its children.”

Young, bright, beautiful children for whom school should have been a place of joy. Instead, for many, it became a place of horror and fear.

Often, the impact was enduring.

The ripple effect of abuse – impacting people’s health, mental health, life outcomes and relationships with loved ones. Impacting their belief in themselves and the world around them.

Despite it all – they’ve shown the most incredible courage. A determination to protect others in a way that they weren’t.

I want to thank the men and women who brought us to this day.

As children you experienced a system that sought to silence you. Now as adults you have refused to be silent anymore.

I also want to make clear: justice requires acknowledgement – but it also demands action.

The work is not over – rather, this is just the next step towards healing.

Earlier this year, I met with a number of survivors.

They shared with me their experiences and the culture of silence that surrounded them.

I’ll never forget what one of them said to me: “I just want to be believed.”

You are.”

Public hearings for the inquiry into historical child sexual abuse at 24 Victorian Government schools began in late October last year.

The Board of Inquiry delivered its final report to the Governor on 26 February 2024 and many victim-survivors engaged with the Board of Inquiry to share their experiences of child sexual abuse.

Recommendations from the report included a state-wide apology along with many others.

Addressing legislative reform, targeted programs, a new online hub and telephone line providing information and assistance for adult victim-survivors from the department of education, implementing trauma informed practices and a state wide truth telling process were among the recommendations.

The nine recommendations were built around appropriate ways to support healing and the effectiveness of support services for victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse.