Formal apology for child abuse victims

Puffing Billy in Gembrook. 186944_01

A formal apology will be delivered in Parliament to victims of childhood sexual abuse in connection with the Puffing Billy railway.

The apology was one of the recommendations out of the Victorian Ombudsman’s report which investigated child sex offender Robert Whitehead’s involvement with Puffing Billy and other railway bodies.

Minister for Tourism Martin Pakula said it was important to acknowledge the fact these people were betrayed.

“The victims were children who for too long felt unable to tell their stories, and when they did, too many people did not want to hear them,” Mr Pakula said.

“The Victorian Ombudsman’s report detailed harrowing abuse perpetrated at Puffing Billy and other Victorian railways by people who held positions of power and trust.

“It is important that we acknowledge how these people were betrayed and say to them, we are sorry.”

The investigation was announced in 2017 following calls from a brave victim.

Victims and their families have been invited to be at Parliament House for the apology.

The state apology will be delivered at Parliament House at 10am on Wednesday, 27 November.

For further information on the 27 November apology, call 1800 951 095 or email puffingbilly.enquiries@ecodev.vic.gov.au.