Report into problematic and harmful sexual behaviours of children in schools released

Report into problematic and harmful sexual behaviours of children in schools released

The Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child Sexual Abuse's Report of Case Study 45 - Problematic and harmful sexual behaviours of children in schools - was released today.

This report follows a public hearing held in Sydney in October and November 2016.

The King's School, Parramatta NSW

The Royal Commission examined the response of The King's School to an incident of harmful sexual behaviour involving CLC, a former King's student, at a cadet camp in April 2013.

CLC, then in year 10, awoke one night to find that another student had ejaculated onto his sleeping bag. Over the following months, CLC was bullied by students, who called him 'cum rag' and 'cum dumpster'. On one occasion, students renamed the King's wi-fi networks 'CLC is a cum rag'.

In August 2013, CLC disclosed the cadet camp incident and the bullying he was experiencing to staff at King's. Over the next fortnight, the deputy headmaster, Dr Andrew Parry, conducted an investigation into the camp incident and the bullying, which broadly confirmed CLC's allegations.

Dr Parry telephoned the youth liaison officer at Castle Hill police station to discuss the incident. Following this conversation, the police officer sent Dr Parry an email advising that a criminal act had been committed and that the incident should be reported to police. However, no report was made.

The Commissioners are satisfied that no one at King's reported the CLC camp incident to the police, despite having written advice from the police that the matter should be reported. This was a failure by the senior management of King's. Headmaster Dr Timothy Hawkes “candidly” accepted that the steps that King's took were not effective in dealing with the problem in this case. He also accepted that despite the steps that King's had taken, a not insignificant number of boys continued to bully CLC.

The Commissioners found that in 2013 a bullying culture existed at King's, both inside the boarding houses and in the school more generally. The Royal Commission is satisfied that the measures King's took to address the bullying of CLC were ineffective. King's also did not adequately address CLC's parents' concerns about the school's response to the bullying of CLC.

CLC left King's in year 10. He began his year 11 studies in 2014 at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, which addressed bullying differently. CLC told the Royal Commission that his experience at Riverview was 'very different' from his experience at King's. EAE, CLC's father, felt that the staff at Riverview took a daily interest in CLC and how he was coping.

On one occasion, a student at Riverview made fun of CLC. CLC's friends immediately stood up for him and reported it to staff, who made sure he was okay. CLC was offered counselling, and he took up that offer and enjoyed his relationship with the school counsellor throughout his time at Riverview.

The Royal Commission is satisfied that the measures that Riverview implemented in 2014 and 2015 in relation to CLC were more appropriate and successful at preventing bullying of CLC than the measures that King's implemented during 2013.

Trinity Grammar School, Summer Hill NSW

The Royal Commission examined the response of Trinity Grammar School to the sexual assault of CLA and CLB, two former boarding students, by other boarders in the boarding house in 2000.

On 11 August 2000, CLB, then in year 9, completed an incident report stating that some boarders had tried to 'rape' him that day, and this was not the first time they had tried to 'rape' him. CLB recorded that a boarder had made a 'dildo in wood tech' class which was used to 'stick up peoples [sic] butts', but it was not used that day. The incident report was read by the boarding master, Robert Scott, and the senior master, Peter Green. CLB was counselled by the then senior school psychologist, Katherine Lumsdaine (nee Pearce).

Later that day, it is likely that Mr Green informed the headmaster, Milton Cujes, of CLB's allegations.

Concerned that senior staff would not investigate the allegations, Ms Lumsdaine commenced her own investigation and heard numerous accounts of students being sexually assaulted with the 'wooden dildo'. The Royal Commission is satisfied that if Ms Lumsdaine had not interviewed the boys and reported her conclusion there would have been no investigation of the sexual assaults that were occurring in the boarding house at Trinity in 2000.

Save for Ms Lumsdaine's investigation, Trinity did not seek out other boys who may have been sexually assaulted. Support was not given to the boys affected.

Shalom Christian College, Condon QLD

The Royal Commission examined the response of Shalom Christian College to allegations of sexual assault reported by CLF, a 14-year-old female boarding student.

On 23 February 2006, CLF alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a male student. The principal of Shalom learned of the incident on 1 March 2006. Shalom did not take any action in response to CLF's allegation. Shalom's inaction exposed CLF to the risk of further sexual assaults while at school.

On 23 March 2006, CLF said that she was sexually assaulted on school grounds by four male students, aged between 15 and 17 years old. Various individuals at Shalom, including the principal, learned of the allegations by 28 March 2006.

The Royal Commission is satisfied that there was no system in place available to various staff members at Shalom which would ensure a coordinated approach to responding to information relating to CLF.

In the days following CLF's disclosure and until her parents arrived at Shalom on 2 April 2006, CLF was in the care of the school but she received limited assistance. CLF received no counselling from Shalom's Health and Wellbeing Centre, nor staff members or external service providers. Shalom should have done more to secure resources to assist CLF after her disclosure.

The Royal Commission is satisfied that Shalom should have sufficient resources and funding to maintain a safe environment for the students.

Read the report.