Mother of St Ann’s Special School Paedophile Victim Says Commission Findings Won’t Diminish Impact of the Crimes

Perth Now
June 4, 2015

Helen Gitsham with husband Brian, says victims will have to live with this horrific crime.

THE mother of one of Brian Perkins’ vulnerable young victims says the royal commission findings would allow those affected to “get the real truth”, but the horrific crimes would live with them forever.

Helen Gitsham told The Advertiser the commission had confirmed her beliefs about the scandal that “anything that could go wrong did go wrong”.

Her son David attended the school from 1975 to 1988 while paedophile bus driver David Perkins was employed at the school.

His behaviour deteriorated in the years after, but it was not until 2001 when the abuse was uncovered publicly they began to suspect he had been a victim of Perkins.

He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2005, said Mrs Gitsham, and died shortly after.

Mrs Gitsham said the findings had vindicated her suspicions about the entire process — that everyone involved had failed the victims of abuse.

“It was a healing process to find out the information that no one would tell us before,” she said.

“This has been totally consuming for 13-14 years, we are glad to finally see an end to it.

“It’s been a long journey and we are glad now that it’s over but it will live with us forever.”

She said the findings would not change what had happened to her family, or the loss of her son, but it would allow them to move on.

She stopped short of saying it had provided closure.

“We are thankful for the royal commission because no one else would listen to us,” she said.

Most importantly, she said the process had provided the answers she had been searching for.

“We had access to all of these documents subpoenaed to the commission and for the first time we were finding out things that no one would tell us before,” she said.

She she still did not have confidence in organisations caring for children.

“We don’t have confidence that these organisations will do the right thing by self-regulating because they put self protection first,” she said.

“They say they put the victim first, but it’s self-protection.”

She encouraged other families of abuse victims to speak out to get the answers they needed.

“It’s so important that the little people speak out when there is injustice and this was a terrible injustice.

“It’s really important that people stand up and say ‘this is not right’ and ‘you must do better’.

“These children are the most vulnerable in our society, they have no voice and they were not heard and they didn’t seem to care at all.”








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