The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church and an international charitable organisation headquartered in London, England. The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 and started work in Australia in 1880.

Alkira Boys’ Home, QLD

In 1922, the Salvation Army established and opened Alkira Boys’ Home, QLD (previously been known as Industrial School for Boys, Boys Home, Washpool, Boys Home, Indooroopilly, and Cooinda Salvation Army Home for Boys) situated at 724 Moggill Road, Indooroopilly QLD (now called Chapel Hill). It was originally opened to accommodate for State orphans, abandoned and neglected boys.

Alkira Boys’ Home closed in 1983 when funding ceased.

History of Abuse at Alkira Boys’ Home, QLD

Survivors have reported numerous cases of sexual assaults and severe beatings whilst placed at Alkira Boys’ Home. Survivors have also reported that there was an organised prostitution network at Alkira Boys’ Home, where boys were flown to Sydney to participate in prostitution. The Royal Commission also received evidence confirming that the Queensland Government was aware of the serious concerns regarding the Alkira Boys’ Home, but the government ignored this evidence.

Alkira Boys’ Home was an institution containing child abuse revealed by a number of witnesses to the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions in 1998-1999. Evidence given to the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions about excessive corporal punishment at Alkira Boys’ Home was supported by departmental files from the 1970s examined by the Commission. According to the Inquiry report:

“Former residents of Alkira told of various staff members using physical punishments against children for a variety of ‘misdemeanours’ including, for example, absconding, being out of bounds, talking through meal or study time, not closing eyes while praying, talking to girls or playing with them in the school grounds, talking on the way to school, or not sitting up straight while watching television.”

There were numerous submissions made to the Senate Inquiry into Institutional Care in 2004 related to child abuse at Alkira Boys’ Home.

In January 2014, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard evidence of abuse mainly for the years 1966 to 1977, however, it did hear allegations of abuse dating back to as early as 1936. The Royal Commission found the Salvation Army itself (and in its employees) failed in its duties as follows:

There was a culture of frequent physical punishment which was on occasion brutal by The Salvation Army from 1956 until their closure, which encouraged fear of officers; and

Sexual abuse of the boys by officers or employees of The Salvation Army was often accompanied by physical violence or the threat of physical violence.

Salvation Army whistleblower, Major Clifford Randall, spoke to the Royal Commission about the abuse senior Salvation Army personnel dealt out to the boys at the Alkira Boys’ Home. He reported witnessing a boy being spun around while Captain McIver was whipping his genitals and caused him to break a cuff link on the table. Major Clifford Randall further said:

“McIver just went crazy … he slammed the boy into the wall, hitting his face and dislocating his shoulder.”

“I threw him into his chair and said ‘If you want to hit somebody, hit somebody your own size’.”

We are specialist abuse lawyers and can help you receive acknowledgement, meaningful apology and financial resolution from those institutions and systems of power that failed to protect you from harm. If you would like advice in relation to a childhood or adult sexual, physical and/or psychological/emotional abuse claim in any jurisdiction in Australia, please reach out to the author, Emily Wright, at Littles Lawyers today.

Further Abuse Law information written by our Emily Wright can be found on our website.

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