We are sorry
Parkerville Children and Youth Care, or Parkerville Children’s Home as we were known, have been providing residential care for children and young people, who for various reasons were unable to live with their families, in Western Australia since 1903.
We acknowledge with deep sorrow and regret that at certain times in our history we failed some of those children and young people. To those who did not receive the best quality care, and to those who may have experienced physical, sexual, or psychological abuse whilst under our care, we offer you our most sincere and heartfelt apology.
You did nothing wrong. You already had a less than ideal start to life and you were the victims of acts that were inexcusable under any circumstances. We recognise that such trauma may have left an immeasurable and lasting impact on you, your families, your friends and your communities.
To you all, we say sorry.
How did it happen?
During the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse we learned through the stories of survivors that there are common factors that contributed to the failures of Australian institutions to provide safe environments for children and other vulnerable people. These included but were not limited to having unskilled and unsafe staff working with children, staff not knowing what abuse was or how to report it, a lack of rules and insufficient child safety processes, and a culture of prioritising adults over children’s safety.
Australia’s child protection, criminal and civil justice systems also let you down. Such systemic failures to protect the most vulnerable members of our community must never be allowed to happen again.
What are we doing to prevent it from happening again?
Child safety is everyone’s responsibility and Parkerville Children and Youth Care has adopted a multitude of prevention strategies to ensure the mistakes – and the trauma – of the past are not repeated.
Child sexual abuse thrives on secrecy, silence and shame. These attributes are at odds with Parkerville Children and Youth Care’s values and are not accepted within our organisation. Today, we work to ‘interrupt’ predatory behaviours by thoroughly screening staff and volunteers, and by modifying risky environments (such as by improving physical structures, policies and supervision practices) so that it is harder for would-be perpetrators to behave as they did in the past. We have established mechanisms in place to listen to and respond to children, and in particular, their views about their safety and their wellbeing.
Parkerville Children and Youth Care is also now accredited as a ‘Child Safe Organisation’, we were the first organisation in Western Australia to receive this endorsement.
For more information about the environment, culture, strategies and actions we are taking to promote wellbeing and prevent harm to children and young people, for today and in the future, please visit www.parkerville.org.au/preventingharm.
What supports can I access if I experienced abuse?
We are fully committed to supporting people who experienced child sexual abuse to move forward in a way that is right for them and helpful to their healing. We invite anyone who has experienced child sexual abuse at Parkerville Children and Youth Care to come forward to us, the WA Police, or the National Redress Scheme (whichever makes you feel the most safe and comfortable) in order to report the abuse and seek the outcomes which would be most beneficial to you.
If you have concerns about the imminent sexual harm of any child presently in the care of an institution, please report these directly to the WA Police or the Western Australian Department of Child Protection. If you would like support during this process, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The National Redress Scheme provides survivors with access to counselling, an apology (for those who seek one) and a Redress payment. For many survivors, no amount of money is enough to compensate them for the suffering they endured. For that reason, a redress payment is but one method of acknowledging the abuse and its detrimental effect on the survivor. For more information about how you can access support or how to apply to the National Redress Scheme please click here: www.parkerville.org.au/redress or www.nationalredress.gov.au, or call the National Redress Scheme on 1800 737 377.
If you feel you need immediate support, the following organisations are here to help:
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
Lifeline – 13 11 14
1800 Respect – 1800 737 732
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
Mensline – 1300 78 99 78
In an emergency call Triple Zero (000)