In December 2016, Salesian College Sunbury held a ceremony for the public apology for child abuse, with a permanent monument – the ‘Sorry Stone’ – installed on the College Grounds as a place of contemplation.
The ceremony was held in recognition of, and apology for, the trust that was abused and broken in the past. Mr Mark Brockhus said at the time, ‘we hope this apology will start a process of healing that will lead to more meaningful and ongoing support to those affected’.
The Salesians of Don Bosco recognise and acknowledge that some students of Salesian College ‘Rupertswood’ Sunbury have suffered harm from abuse caused by certain members of the Salesian Congregation.
This abuse has caused damage, shame, and guilt. It was a betrayal of trust of these students, their parents, families, and the wider community. The impact on victims’ lives is deep and ongoing.
To those who suffered here at Salesian College Sunbury, the Salesians of Don Bosco offer a heartfelt apology. In December 2016 the Salesian Provincial, Fr Greg Chambers, expressed his sincere sorrow on behalf of his fellow Salesians:
‘From the very beginning of our Salesian story, the beacon pointing out our identity and our mission has always been and will be the welfare, the education, and the integral formation of young people, particularly the poor and abandoned ones. For us Salesians, nothing is more precious and more sacred than the life of a young person.
Unfortunately, we have seriously betrayed the trust placed on us and denied our mission and our responsibilities, particularly at Salesian College Sunbury. Today we say sorry unconditionally and wholeheartedly to the victims and their families for the deep hurt our wrongdoing has caused. As a province community, we wish to apologise most sincerely and ask for their forgiveness.’
May those who experienced pain and hurt here at Salesian College Sunbury now find recognition, healing, and peace.
In recent years, there is far greater awareness of abuse and the conditions that allow abuse to take place. There are clear and comprehensive measures, processes, and procedures in place to educate, prevent, intervene, and report these behaviours. At Salesian College Sunbury, we are committed to providing our students with a safe, supportive, and enriching environment to develop spiritually, physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially.
We hope that victims of abuse do not have to suffer in silence, and that they can access support to find healing and peace.