Beaumaris Primary School child sexual abuse inquiry expands
The Victorian Government’s Board of Inquiry (“the inquiry”) into child sexual abuse claims in Beaumaris Primary School and other government schools has taken a significant turn as it expands its scope to include six additional schools and uncovers allegations against two previously unnamed teachers. The inquiry, chaired by Kathleen Foley SC, has been steadfast in its mission to bring justice to abuse victims.
The expansion of the inquiry has recently been discussed in an ABC news article, “Beaumaris Primary School child sexual abuse inquiry expanded as two more alleged perpetrators named”.
Expanding the scope of the inquiry
Initially, the inquiry encompassed 18 schools. The scope has now broadened to 24 schools, with the inclusion of Bundalong South Primary School, Chelsea Heights Primary School, Cowes Primary School, Drouin South Primary School, Kunyung Primary School, and Warragul Primary School. This expansion underscores the gravity of the issue.
Newly named alleged child sexual abuse perpetrators
The inquiry had previously identified one perpetrator, Gary Arthur Mitchell. Mr Mitchell was convicted of multiple counts of child sexual abuse spanning the late 1960s to the early 2000s.
Now, the inquiry has identified two additional perpetrators: Mr Grahame (Graham) Harold Steele and Mr David Ernest Keith MacGregor. Both perpetrators are former teachers at Beaumaris Primary School and other government schools.
MacGregor remained an employee of the Education Department after conviction
ABC News also revealed recently in an article that the perpetrator, David Ernest Keith MacGregor, remained an employee of the department for seven years after his conviction for sexually abusing two of his students.
The MacGregor case serves as a reminder of the vital role educational institutions play in protecting children. It underscores the need for reform and increased vigilance in safeguarding the welfare of children.
In response to the inquiries, a spokesperson for the Victorian Education Department expressed deep regret for allowing David MacGregor to remain employed after his conviction. They acknowledged the need for reforms to ensure the safety and well-being of children in schools. These reforms, however, come too late for the victims of MacGregor’s abuse.
The call for witnesses to make submissions
In her statement, Kathleen Foley SC emphasised the inquiry’s commitment to identifying alleged perpetrators and the schools they worked in. She urged anyone with relevant experiences or information to come forward and assist the inquiry.
For victim-survivors, family members, friends, and other witnesses who wish to make a submission or register for a private session, the deadline has been extended to 31 October 2023.
You can make a submission on the Board of Inquiry into Historical Sexual Abuse in Beaumaris Primary School website or by calling 03 8301 0102.
The importance of child abuse survivors’ voices being heard
Ms Foley stressed the significance of every individual having the opportunity to share their experiences, acknowledging that for many, this might be the first time they come forward.
The inquiry is dedicated to providing support and safety for those who choose to participate. Ms Foley expressed her gratitude to those who have already submitted their stories and engaged in private sessions, acknowledging their strength and courage.
Get help from an abuse lawyer
Our Abuse Law team understands that for an abuse survivor, discussing the particular circumstances will be difficult, however, we believe it is important for survivors to know their rights and entitlements.
At Hall Payne, we use a trauma-informed approach to work with you through this difficult journey. We listen carefully to your story and help you understand your options, and we can also work with your support network, including family, health professionals and counsellors, to ensure you are supported at all times.
We encourage anyone who may have information relating to the Beaumaris Primary School Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry or any other child sexual abuse inquiries to make contact with Megan Stanley, Principal Solicitor at Hall Payne, as soon as possible.
Contacting Hall Payne Lawyers
You can contact us by phone or email to arrange your consultation; either face-to-face at one of our offices, by telephone or by videoconference consultation.
This article relates to Australian law; either at a State or Federal level.
The information contained on this site is for general guidance only. No person should act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information. Appropriate professional advice should be sought based upon your particular circumstances. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Hall Payne Lawyers.