The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church and an international charitable organisation headquartered in London, England. The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 and started work in Australia in 1880.  

Bayswater Boys’ Home, VIC

In 1897, the Salvation Army established and opened Bayswater Boys’ Home, VIC (previously been known as Bayswater Boys’ Home No 1, 2 and 3, Bayswater Youth Training Centre, Bayswater Farm and Vocational Training Centre, and Salvation Army Farm and Training Centre) situated at Liverpool Street, The Basin, east of Melbourne, Victoria.   

 

Bayswater Boys’ Home housed boys who had been placed in legal custody, on behalf of the Social Welfare Branch of the Government of Victoria.  

 

There were a number of ‘homes’ within Bayswater Boys’ Home. Home No 1 housed boys over the age of 14 years, initially those who had committed serious offences. Home No 2 housed the younger boys under the age of 14 years. Home No 3 initially housed older non-offending boys until Home No 1 Home was later combined with the Home No 3 in 1947 and became known as the Bayswater Youth Training Centre. 

 

The Bayswater Boys’ Homes closed progressively from 1980, and officially closed in 1987, owing a government decision to cease funding non-government agencies to run statutory facilities such as youth training centres. Bayswater Boys’ Home became the ‘Mountain Valley Youth Camp and Conference Centre’. The Youth Training Centre became part of the Salvation Army’s Bridge and Employment Programs. 

History of Abuse at Bayswater Boys’ Home, VIC

There were several submissions made to the Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care which made reference to Bayswater Boys’ Home and these persons negative experiences whilst placed there. One survivor, Mr Terry Dean, described Bayswater Boys’ Home and other Salvation Army Homes as ‘a sad reminder of a bygone age of degradation and cruelty’, and ‘the epitome of hell on earth’. 

In 2015, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held a public hearing looking into the experiences of former child residents of The Salvation Army (Southern Territory) institutions between 1940 and 1990. In Case Study number 33 published by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in July 2016, the Royal Commission found that the Salvation Army had failed in its duties and responsibilities to keep boys under its care at Bayswater Boys Home safe from any form of physical and sexual abuse. In summary, the Royal Commission concluded that the Salvation Army failed to take action against its staff and officers who were breaching Orders and Regulations prohibiting the mistreatment of children. Furthermore, the Royal Commission stated emphatically that the Salvation Army provided a culture at Bayswater in which: 

  • children felt afraid to report sexual abuse;
  • children felt powerless to resist the maltreatment; and
  • the staff and officers whose behaviour was in breach of the Orders and Regulations were able to, and did, continue the prohibited behaviour.

 

The Royal Commission received documentary evidence and heard first-hand accounts from many boys who were abused at Bayswater Boys Home and found that the Salvation Army failed to control the actions of two particular paedophiles – officers Brigadier Wright and Envoy Collins. 

We are specialist abuse lawyers and can help you receive acknowledgement, meaningful apology and financial resolution from those institutions and systems of power that failed to protect you from harm. If you would like advice in relation to a childhood or adult sexual, physical and/or psychological/emotional abuse claim in any jurisdiction in Australia, please reach out to the author, Emily Wright, at Littles Lawyers today. 

Further Abuse Law information written by our Emily Wright can be found on our website. 

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