State Government-run Institutions

The New South Wales Government established reformatory schools and detention centres to provide institutional care and confinement for young people deemed to be in the need of ‘correction’. The Child Welfare Department were responsible for the management of these government-run institutions.

Ormond Regional Youth Centre

In February 1980, the New South Wales Government established and opened Ormond Regional Youth Centre, situated at 72-78 Duffy Avenue, Westleigh NSW.

Ormond Regional Youth Centre (previously known as Ormond Youth Centre, Ormond Special School for Truants, and Ormond School for Specific Purposes) originally operated as a State-run home for older children and young people who were wards of the State or in Departmental care. Ormond Regional Youth Centre later became the Ormond Training School for Girls, and then between 1976 to 1982 it became the Ormond Centre which was a co-educational school for truants. In 1985, Ormond Regional Youth Centre was established providing custodial care to children aged between 9 and 15 years old. The children were typically confined by a court order at Ormond Regional Youth Centre or, otherwise, were voluntarily admitted.

Ormond Regional Youth Centre closed in 1998.

History of Abuse at Ormond Regional Youth Centre

In 1997, allegations were made that children at Ormond Regional Youth Centre were being sexually abused at the hands of a paedophile network. These allegations were investigated by the New South Wales Government through the Community Services Commission. The Community Services Commission later published ‘The Ormond Centre – a complaint investigation into institutional care of children, April 1999’. The report included the following from a former manager of Ormond Regional Youth Centre:

…she found “highly disturbed and very anxious” children living in appalling circumstances when she took up her post. Many of the staff lacked youth training, having been recruited from the CES. They had a custodial mentality and believed in controlling the children, not forming relationships with them. Her child focused philosophy put some “old guard” Ormond staff offside…she also alienated DOCS field officers and managers by her insistence that Ormond was no longer to be a dumping ground.

Ormond was suppose to take challenging young people for three months, settle them down and refer them on to a more satisfactory environment”, she said. “But they used to be left here for a year or even two. Some practices of this Department are atrocious.

The 2004 Commonwealth Senate Inquiry by the Community Affairs References Committee in its report – ‘Forgotten Australians’ – also reported allegations of sexual and physical abuse at Ormond Regional Youth Centre on former detainees. One example included the following:

I was about eleven and a half when I ended up in Ormond. Ormond was a regimental place. I was molested there, my memories are of physical abuse. We were still caned and beaten and my hair was cut off and I got a number…I got out of Ormond at 14, I was taught nothing. I knew how to iron and sew but I had not outside social skills, I had low self esteem.

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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