Salvos failed to report or review all 500 complaints against sexual abuse

Despite acknowledging that 500 complaints against sexual abuse in its orphanages around Victoria were received, the Salvation Army denies that pedophilia was endemic. The organization has paid out almost $20 million in compensation.

On the contrary, the Salvos did not report a single complaint to police, which the Victorian parliamentary child abuse inquiry finds shady. The inquiry also discovered that the total number of child abuse cases is almost certainly much higher than its records show.

Salvation Army Captain Malcolm Roberts said the organization had received 471 complaints against 50 officers out of which 37 have died. After some grilling, he also accepted that the organization had never conducted a comprehensive review of the complaints it received.

“Most of the people who could give us any guidance around what happened in those homes are dead… If we say that they are even the tip of the iceberg, there might be much more than that out there, they certainly reflect a small proportion of the children who were in our homes. The Salvation Army hasn’t conducted a review or an investigation into what actually went on in those homes because it’s 20, 30, 40 years ago,” he said.

National’s MP David O’Brien said the Salvos should not have waited for decades to consider reviewing such cases.

“If an organization like yours is not able to properly confront the fact that it has had child abuse as part of its organizational structure then I put it to you that it is in danger of repeating that because it provides an incentive for cover-up,” he said.

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