School child sex abuse survivors asked to come forward

Survivors of child sexual abuse in Victorian government schools are being asked to come forward to share their experiences.

An independent Board of Inquiry is examining abuse at Beaumaris Primary School in Melbourne's southeast in the 1960s and 1970s and at other government schools up to the late 1990s.

Allegations have been made against at least three perpetrators who worked at 18 schools.

The inquiry identified former Beaumaris teacher Gary Arthur Mitchell as one of the known perpetrators and said others would be named at a later date, with legal proceedings underway against one other person.

Mitchell was employed as a teacher, deputy principal and principal at several schools from 1964 until the late 1990s and has previously been sentenced over child sexual abuse matters.

The scope of the inquiry was initially limited to the 18 schools with a link to the known perpetrators but Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had indicated it could be widened if other victim-survivors came forward.

"They can go where the evidence takes them," Mr Andrews told reporters on Thursday.

"It was not for us to be kind of naming a whole bunch of other schools, there needs to be evidence led that needs to be a process."

Inquiry chair Kathleen Foley is calling on anyone who experienced child sexual abuse in the school system to come forward for a confidential discussion, regardless of whether or not they have connection to the 18 schools.

She expects a "significant" number of people to make contact given the number of schools and time period being examined.

"I reassure people that you can choose to provide information confidentially or anonymously, we will respect people's preferences in how they share their information with us," Ms Foley said.

Submissions are open until October 12 and all victim-survivors are entitled to a private hearing while some will be able to give evidence in public if they wish.

In addition Beaumaris, other the primary schools included in the probe are Mount View, Moorabbin, Dandenong North, Dandenong West, Beaconsfield Upper, Mirboo, Emerald, Cranbourne, Bunyip, Tarwin, Hampton, Aspendale, Belvedere, Ormond East, Tarraville, Moorabbin West and Warragul Technical School.

The government has promised an apology to abused former Beaumaris students and set aside $4.5 million to support victim-survivors and run the inquiry.

The final report is due to be handed to government at the end of February 2024.

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