Once a highly regarded charitable organisation, the Salvation Army has suffered a serious blow to its reputation as claims of physical and sexual abuse at its children’s homes have hit the headlines. Many people thought, “surely not the Salvos too?”, as claims of brutal abuse unfolded in the Royal Commission Salvation Army cases.
The allegations centred on abuse in four Salvation Army homes — Gill Memorial Home in Goulburn, Bexley Boys’ Home in Sydney, Alkira Boys’ Home in Indooroopilly, and Riverview Boys’ Home in Riverview, Queensland.
The Salvation Army is a Christian, charitable organisation that has operated in Australia for 130 years. It operates in every State and Territory in Australia.
Major Victor Bennett started his career at Gill Memorial Home in 1948, and was at some time appointed to each of the four homes. He was quick to physically punish the boys, and did so in an excessive and sadistic way. More than one survivor recalled how Bennett would organise fights between the boys. He was also known for forced oral sex and sodomy of the boys.
We have obtained a substantial settlement for one of Bennett’s victims. Read Brett’s story here.
Complaints have also been made about Major Lawrence Wilson and Major John McIver, and we have received complaints about many other Salvation Army officers.
The Royal Commission has found that the Salvation Army’s response to complaints of abuse was generally inadequate and policies for checking officers’ background were flawed.
Kelso Lawyers are experienced in supporting clients throughout a Salvation Army claim. While the process is challenging, it can also be a rewarding experience as survivors are given the opportunity to tell their stories and receive verbal and written apologies.
The Salvation Army has established a committee to determine compensation offers based on the seriousness of the abuse, and the level of impact upon the client’s life. We negotiate with the committee to claim the maximum amount of $150,000. It may also be possible to exceed this limit through litigation.
Download the Case Study Summary of the Royal Commission’s investigation of The Salvation Army.