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Sex Abuse Case Headed to Mediation

Monday, December, 26, 2016

Residents of a home for Indigenous Stolen Generation children in Darwin are a step closer to gaining compensation from the federal government after providing evidence of a child sexual abuse scandal that was mishandled. Those affected by the abuse are welcoming the prospect of mediation and the federal government also claims it is committed to resolving the case.

The accusations of abuse come from 85 former Retta Dixon Home residents. The group launched a class action lawsuit in September 2015 in an attempt to gain redress for years of what it describes as sexual and physical abuse. The case is currently on hold because both sides have agreed to mediation.

According to the attorney for the residents, “The Commonwealth have been proposing the mediation at this point, which is a very positive thing, because it's consistent with a party to an action that is acting in good faith and wanting to try and resolve it.”

One resident, Sue Roman, was forcibly removed from her family home in 1950. Like many children, she was placed in Retta Dixon by government officials, but others were placed there voluntarily by mothers who were unable to afford to look after their children. Roman was there for 13 years before being placed with a foster family. She described mental, physical, and sexual abuse, stating children died at the hands of a missionary, and did not receive proper education.

Others in the lawsuit describe similar situations and want to be compensated by the Australian government. They are hopeful mediation will bring an end to their ordeal.