Forced child migrants hope abuse inquiry will deliver justice


Forced child migrants and survivors of abuse at Christian Brothers-run residences in Western Australia say a royal commission will give them a measure of release and justice.

“My life was just getting belted. And to me I thought that was normal. It wasn’t a good life, it should have been a good life,” survivor Joe Isherwood told SBS.

“I think people [who are] willing and able should be compensated somehow or other for what’s occurred.”

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse opens at the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission in Perth on Monday.

“We want to see justice – justice is the end word,” said Tony Costa, who as a child was sent to Bindoon Boys Town in 1953.

“We don’t want the next generation to suffer as we did 60 years ago.”

Mr Costa, a spokesman for the International Association of Former Child Migrants, said he was still angry more than 60 years after he was separated from his family.

“One is angry but as the years go on it’s like a wine – you mature,” he said.

“You have to get on with life. Some poor beggars, some of my fellow survivors, have fallen along the way be it through broken marriages, alcoholism, drugs and so on.

“But each and every one of them has a story to tell and so I don’t want to judge anybody harshly.”

Monday’s hearings are the 11th case study by the royal commission examining how Australian institutions responded to child sexual abuse.

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