BoysTown and De La Salle Brothers respond to 60 Minutes abuse allegations
STATEMENT FROM BOYSTOWN
On Sunday September 16, Channel Nine's 60 Minutes program broadcast a number of disturbing allegations regarding the treatment of some residents of BoysTown Beaudesert during the 1970s to early 1990s.
BoysTown Chief Executive Tracy Adams said the De La Salle Brothers, who were responsible for the operations of BoysTown Beaudesert during that period, have taken these allegations very seriously and have pledged to have them fully investigated by an independent third party investigator.
"We are deeply concerned by the nature and extent of these complaints, which cut across the ethos and ethics of the De La Salle order and everything that it has stood for in centuries of service to humanity around the world," Ms Adams said.
"It is in everybody's best interests, especially those of the former residents concerned, that the truth regarding these allegations is established by independent investigators, including the police.
"BoysTown and the De La Salle order have no interest in cover-up or concealment of any wrongdoing that may have occurred in the past. It is distressing to think that young people may have been hurt or wronged whilst in the care of BoysTown Beaudesert.
"I hope people are able to differentiate between the old BoysTown Beaudesert residential facility of the last century and the BoysTown of today, which is a very different organisation, incorporated under a Board of Directors and operating independent of the Brothers."
BoysTown Beaudesert closed in 2001 due to changes in Government policy regarding institutionalised child care.
Today, BoysTown helps tens of thousands of children, young people and families each year. Our broad range of services assist the most disadvantaged in society, with the continued funding support of the BoysTown lotteries.
"I would like to personally reassure everyone that BoysTown has a rigorously enforced zero tolerance policy towards any type of sexual, physical or mental abuse among our clients and staff," Ms Adams said.
"The protection of children and young people is a fundamental priority and a cornerstone principle of our works."
More information regarding this issue is available at www.boystown.com.au/news
Released by BoysTown
September 16, 2012
STATEMENT FROM THE DE LA SALLE BROTHERS
On Sunday 16 September 2012, Channel Nine's 60 Minutes program broadcast a series of allegations of wrongdoing by De La Salle Brothers and their co-workers at Boys Town Beaudesert during the 1970s and 1980s.
As current Leader of the De La Salle Brothers in Australia I am deeply concerned by the nature and extent of these complaints and will take whatever steps are required to have these issues properly investigated and dealt with at the earliest time.
The De La Salle Brothers and the modern Boys Town organisation have a zero tolerance policy on any form of abuse. The protection of young people in our care is a fundamental priority. For the last 15 years, we have worked on such issues in close collaboration with the Catholic Church "Towards Healing" and "Integrity in Ministry" initiatives. We always seek an independent, honest and open assessment of such complaints and, if at all possible, some form of humane and compassionate resolution. Other complaints are dealt with in the legal forum and we have instructed our solicitors to avoid undue legalism around statute of limitations and issues such as the Ellis defence.
I know how daunting and stressful lodging and pursuing this type of complaint can be and we have a policy of providing counselling and similar support to any former resident pursuing an issue from their time at Boys Town either within Towards Healing or through Lawyers. I am conscious of my responsibilities to the complainants and our Brothers and lay workers, who must be afforded fairness and justice as well. In two cases, the Police have been informed at the outset. Other matters will be referred to an independent professional for investigation. If evidence of abuse is substantiated there must be Police involvement. Boys Town, no longer a residential care facility, now operates independently of the Brothers,incorporated under a Board of Directors, the majority of whom are lay people and highly experienced in corporate governance and accountability. Rigorous policies and procedures are in place to safeguard individuals from any form of abuse.
As these matters are currently under investigation, the De La Salle Brothers will make no further comment at the present time.
Br Ambrose Payne
De La Salle Brothers
District of Australia
Released September 16, 2012
MEDIA FACT SHEET
1. BoysTown Beaudesert, a residential school for disadvantaged boys located 65 kilometres south of Brisbane, was administered by the De La Salle brothers between 1961 and 2001, when it closed due to changed Queensland Government regulations regarding institutionalised care.
2. Close to 1,600 young men went to BoysTown Beaudesert, many of whom publicly and readily express their appreciation of their positive experiences at BoysTown.
3. Since 2002, BoysTown has been operated independent of the De La Salle religious order as an incorporated body governed by an independent Board of Directors.
4. If wrongdoing is investigated and substantiated, then the De La Salle Brothers will be responsible for finalising claims. BoysTown will not be responsible for paying any compensation claims. Supporters of BoysTown, including purchasers of BoysTown art union tickets can rest assured that none of their money will be used for compensation payments.
5. BoysTown's Protocol Regarding Complaints of Abuse at BoysTown, Beaudesert can be downloaded from the BoysTown website. Key features of this protocol are:
- Rapid written response to all complaints
- Ongoing support and counselling for the complainant, and
- Investigation of the complaint by third-party, independent (non-BoysTown and non-Catholic) investigators, including police if necessary.
6. Today, BoysTown provides a wide range of services to tens of thousands of children, young women and men and families each year including:
- Telephone and online counselling and support services
- Paid, real work opportunities for disadvantaged young people with on-the-job training and employment programs which prepares them for open employment
- Training and employment programs that skill approximately 6,000 young people each year, allowing them to re-engage with education and/or employment
- Refuges providing temporary accommodation and support for homeless families and women and children escaping domestic violence, and
- Parenting programs offering case work, individual and group work support and child development programs for young parents and their children.
7. For further information about BoysTown, go to www.boystown.com.au or contact Communication Manager, Jessica Tatzenko. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org