Findings released into the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin

Findings released into the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin

The Royal Commission’s Report of Case Study 17 – The response of the Australian Indigenous Ministries, the Australian and Northern Territory governments and the Northern Territory police force and prosecuting authorities to allegations of child sexual abuse which occurred at the Retta Dixon Home, was released today.

The public hearing was held in September 2014 and examined the experiences of 10 former residents of the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin.

The Retta Dixon Home was established by Australian Indigenous Ministries (AIM) at Bagot Aboriginal Reserve in 1946 as a home for Aboriginal children and mothers and a hostel for young Aboriginal women.

AIM accepts that, before 2013, AIM did not have any guidelines or procedures for persons working with children on how to respond to allegations of child sexual abuse.

AIM accepts that from 1947 until 1980, when the Retta Dixon Home operated, AIM did not provide training to persons who worked at the home on how to detect or respond to child sexual abuse.

Following a number of failings on the part of AIM the Commissioners have concluded that, in respect of the matters the subject of the case study, AIM did not meet the obligations that it had to children in its care, including protection from sexual abuse.

The Commissioners were unable to make a finding on the material presented to the Royal Commission as to whether or not the Commonwealth failed in its duty of care to the children of the Retta Dixon Home. However, a question remains as to whether in the circumstances the Commonwealth should have taken remedial action to protect the residents of the home from sexual abuse.

Read the report of Case Study No. 17 (PDF 642 KB) at the Royal Commission's website.