SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Statement regarding the Royal Commission

13-Sep-2016

Today the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s final report into Knox Grammar School was tabled in the Federal Parliament.

The report was an investigation into the School’s response to incidents occurring between 1970 and 2003.  Those incidents had resulted in an investigation in 2009, and the charging and later conviction of one current and four former teachers.

The findings of the report reflect the commentary which has been prevalent since 2009 through the court cases and the public hearings of the Commission.  We welcome that commentary and the recommendations, which despite relating to historic matters, have our full support. 

In 2009, the School and the Uniting Church issued an unconditional apology to the survivors and we have since been working together on redress.  We remain deeply sorry for the pain and suffering inflicted on these men in their childhoods, and commend them once again for their courage in coming forward.

The last few years have been important for survivors of abuse – their stories have been heard and as a community we have been able to support them.  They have also been important for us to come to terms with the past and accept responsibility for what was allowed to occur.

Since becoming Headmaster in 2004, a number of initiatives have been introduced at Knox.  These range from policies and procedures; to regular training and changed practices for teaching staff; to programmes for young people to know what is acceptable and that they are supported if there is a complaint to be made. 

Whilst the tabling of the report represents the end of the Commission’s role, it is not the end of our vigilance and commitment to ensure that the failures of the past are not repeated, and that as a community we work to ensure we never fail our young people again.

Yours sincerely,
 
Mr John Weeks, Headmaster