“I am not surprised that many members of our community feel outraged and disgusted that their children who have been sent to private schools have been exposed to such acts of indecency and sexual abuse which have only recently surfaced.” Reg Kokolokossian, Managing Partner of Gerard Malouf & Partners.
For over 20 years students of former private schools had to live with the trauma, the loss of personal dignity, embarrassment and the nightmare of having been sexual abused whilst a student at one of our private schools or institutions.
We as a society cannot wash our hands of this completely.
There were indicators throughout the years by many people whether it was against Knox Grammar or the Catholic Schools that such incidents were occurring.
We as a community are to blame for allowing these things to be brushed under the carpet and not actioning and taking steps earlier. Thousands of young men and women have been exposed to such sexual abuse causing life long problems in their personal and emotional lives. Most of these have suffered from post traumatic depression, stress, even to the extent that it has deprived them of having “normal” relationships.
Where do we as a community draw the line and what punishments must flow? Who is to be accountable? These are all questions no doubt the Royal Commission will be looking into but ultimately we need to turn our minds to the victims and how this has impacted on their lives. We cannot be blind to the fact that this has caused irreparable damage and some instances has resulted in these victims taking their own lives.
We at Gerard Malouf & Partners have many instances where victims have come forward claiming sexual abuse from private schools and institutions. These are difficult matters which require a great degree of sensitivity and in all cases have usually occurred many years ago. It has always been important to not lose sight of the fact that these private and/or Government schools whether they be institutions such as Knox Grammar or some of the Catholic schools were charged with looking over our children and responsible for the wellbeing and safety.
They have clearly let us and the community down and must be called to account.
No measure of compensation can be enough to repair the damage that has occurred to these men and women who were once children.
Whilst we at Gerard Malouf & Partners have represented many individuals and have obtained very good results money alone has not been the answer for them. The ultimate driving factor has always been to have these bodies also formally acknowledge their failings and the failings of their teachers and principals in actioning the complaints made by students.
“I hope this Royal Commission has a thirst and appetite to go after and rectify the wrongs that have been inflicted on these victims. The Royal Commission is bringing back to these victims of sexual assault a lot of traumatic memories but at the same time there is a sense of happiness and finality to them realising that finally the community is no longer prepared to stand by and allow such indecent abuses to continue.” Reg Kolokossian, Managing Partner of Gerard Malouf & Partners.