The victims of child abuse in Australian Salvation Army homes spoke about their horrific experiences in the first public hearing in Sydney before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for 2014.
Abuse victims claimed young boys were kept in cages for days and raped in Salvation Army homes during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
Shocking treatment at some of the Christian organization's boys homes included rape, beatings, and, in one case, forcing a boy to eat his own vomit, the commission was told earlier this week.
Children were sodomised with a garden hose, locked in outdoor cages and savagely beaten by Salvation Army majors in graphic cases of abuse.
The hearing was told both Salvation Army officers and older boys were the perpetrators of sexual abuse at the home, and that older boys and Salvation Army officers often threatened and intimidated the younger boys, forcing them to perform sexual acts.
The Salvation Army isn't denying the abuse, admitting that hundreds of boys suffered in its care. Kate Eastman, counsel for the Salvation Army at the Royal Commission, offered an “unreserved apology” for the “horrific experiences” of victims.
“We acknowledge that it was a failure of the greatest magnitude,” she said, insisting that today’s Salvation Army had strong policies in place “so that children will never be placed in situations like this again.”
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