The West

Victim queries report delay
Todd Jefferis wants to know why the State Government is taking so long to release the Blaxell Inquiry into St Andrew’s Hostel to paedophile victims.

A victim of serial paedophile Dennis McKenna has questioned why it is taking so long for the State Government to release the long-awaited report into St Andrew’s Hostel.

Todd Jefferis, who attended St Andrew’s Hostel in the early 1980s and now lives in Albany, said the Government needed to “pull their finger out and get on with it”.

Mr Jefferis said he wanted to know why the report had not yet been released.

He said while he and other victims wanted the report handled fairly and correctly, the stigma placed on the people of Katanning by the actions of a few needed to be put right.

“We’ve got a bunch of blokes with the courage to come forward, it’s not fair on them, they need some closure,” he said.

The State Government received the report and recommendations from the inquiry, headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Peter Blaxell, more than a month ago.

The inquiry into St Andrew’s Hostel was commissioned last November and extended to include other State-run hostels.

The report is expected to identify the extent of the abuse in the late 70s and 80s, and will recommend whether action should be taken against public officials and whether changes should be made to government policy.

Any criminal findings will be passed on to police for investigation.

Premier Colin Barnett has told the Great Southern Herald he anticipates the report will be released “in the next few weeks”.

“The report has been referred to the Public Sector Commission for advice,” Mr Barnett said.

“The Government is now conducting a full and proper consideration of the report’s findings and recommendations before tabling the report in Parliament.”

But that offers little respite for Mr Jefferis, who believes strong government leadership is needed to vindicate the people of Katanning who were not involved, or those who attempted to speak out when the abuse was occurring.

“Barnett needs to put right a lot of wrongs and the sooner they get in and do it, the better,” he said.

“(If) the Government were to step in, really make some positive and strong leadership moves, we can make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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