Bravehearts is urging victims of child sex abuse to come forward.
Bravehearts is urging victims of child sex abuse to come forward. Nev Madsen

Tweed victims of child abuse urged to come forward

ANTI-CHILD abuse group Bravehearts is urging Tweed residents with information about alleged abuse by school teachers to contact the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

It follows allegations put to the commission by Banora Point mum Fiona Barnett last week.

Ms Barnett claimed an 18-year sexual and physical abuse spree by Gary Willis, when he worked at three Tweed Shire primary schools, starting from the late 1980s.

Bravehearts research manager Carol Ronken described the allegations reported in My Daily News as horrific.

But she said sadly the alleged incidences were typical of how sexual abuse was dealt with in that era.

Back in the '80s, this issue was very much kept quiet, and institutions very much kept quiet, Ms Ronken said.

"There's been a huge focus on churches, but this matter underlines that there's been systemic failures in every institution," she said.

"I think it has improved. Today, hopefully the response would be much better.

"There's no statute of limitations in terms of reporting criminal offences. It's never too late."

She said the commission was not tasked with investigating specific incidents of abuse, but had the power to refer allegations to the police.

To share your story with the commission, contact the hotline on 1800099340 or email registerinterest@child abuseroyalcommission .gov.au.



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