Heamdaster’s Message – June 8, 2017

June 7, 2017

Dear Parents, Carers, Friends and Students of St Patrick’s College,

Last week, at the Aboretum in Canberra, I joined Principals from Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) schools throughout Australia to be a part of the formal apology to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. The apology, delivered by the Executive Director, Dr Wayne Tinsey, was an important moment both in terms of openly and honestly acknowledging this part of our history, and in expressing great remorse for the anguish and pain caused to victims and survivors.

On Tuesday, June 27 at 4.30pm, St Patrick’s College will offer its formal apology in the front gardens of the College.

As the current stewards of this College, we seek to stand together and acknowledge the unfathomable hurt of the past and to chart a new course of hope for the future: to express our sorrow for, and solidarity with, victims and survivors of sexual abuse, their families, and the wider Ballarat community for the damage done by individuals historically connected with the College.

Most significantly, an apology means little without accompanying actions. As a school community, we recognize we are on a long journey towards the hope of healing. We will strive to seek out ways of assisting victims and survivors and their families who have been wounded by abuse and who are in need of our ongoing support and help. We will continue to work hard to reconnect as many past students with the College who desire this. – We will be strong advocates for an appropriate and effective redress scheme. We will be a strong voice for, and stand together with, victims and survivors and their families.- –

This is our commitment as a College community.

The formal apology will be followed by the official opening of our new Reflective Garden and Monument. This garden is the result of many conversations with members of the College’s community, together with victims and survivors. It stands as a permanent, visible and accessible acknowledgement of this part of our history, as well as reminding us into the future that child safety is our most fundamental responsibility as a school.

The apology represents an important and pivotal moment in the history of the College. While we cannot undo the past, we can speak clearly and loudly for the current community and move forward into the future with a determination that things must and will be different.

I hope that you can join us on the 27th June at 4.30pm for this important day.

Yours Sincerely,

John Crowley