UNHAPPY MEMORIES: The North Coast Children's Home. Circa 1970. Photo The Northern Star Archives
UNHAPPY MEMORIES: The North Coast Children's Home. Circa 1970. Photo The Northern Star Archives The Northern Star Archives

Victims of 'horrendous abuse' to launch new battle

A FRESH legal battle is looming over abuse claims at the North Coast Children's Home with a law firm calling for witnesses to contact their office.

ACT solicitors Ken Cush & Associates are behind an ad in The Northern Star which reads: "Witnesses Required...who attended the (Home) in the period 1945 to 1985, including those who have previously made a claim in the group claim of 2007 to assist".

Solicitors of the firm allege victims did not receive "satisfactory" costs issued by the Anglican Diocese of Grafton and will proceed on a case-by-case basis.

Principal Solicitor Mark Barrow said the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found the Home housed "horrendous abuse".

He said the firm had "made notifications of claims to the Diocese" and "will proceed to issue court proceedings in the Supreme Court Of NSW".

"The physical abuse at the home was serious pony whipping and strapping and soiled sheets wrapped around kids heads," Mr Barrow said.

"The sexual abuse was rife and went on for decades.

"There are more than 50 victims and at least 10 abusers.

"No proper action was taken against a convicted abuser and extensive criminal conduct was concealed and not given to police.

"Victims were treated in a hostile way and contrary to the Diocese's own guidelines."

Mr Barrow alleges the outcome was "oppressive and found to be unjust", and the "Diocese's response was found to have increased the harm suffered by victims".

"The group claim clients we have, should have received 10 times more than they did," he said.

"Proceedings will now be commenced on an individual basis as should have occurred.

"People are still coming forward for their own reasons and in their own time.

"We will support them in their claims to get the fair outcome they deserve and which they clearly missed out on.

"There's no impediment even though they made a claim last time that was resolved unsatisfactorily."

In September 2013, the Diocese published an apology in several newspapers for the abuse at the Home and its handling of subsequent claims.

The Anglican Diocese of Grafton declined to make a comment for this story.