‘Outrageous’: Elite Geelong school encourages alumni to support abuse victims with cash

A Geelong Grammar scheme asking past pupils to provide money and support to the wealthy school’s abuse survivors has been labelled “outrageous” by Arnold Thomas & Becker lawyer Jodie Harris.

Healing and Hope is an organisation established in 2022 by Geelong Grammar’s Survivor Engagement Committee in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse.

The Royal Commission included a damning report of Geelong Grammar’s failure to act on allegations of child sexual abuse at the school on multiple occasions.

Past students receive emails via the Old Geelong Grammarians which invite them to discover what they can “contribute” to, or be offered by, Healing and Hope.

The initiative’s website encourages alumni to give “practical support” and skills including gardening, transport, companionship, phone calls, shopping, and even “support for livestock or pets”.

Jodie Harris, principal lawyer at Arnold Thomas and Becker’s Geelong branch, said it was “outrageous” Geelong Grammar was asking past students to make financial contributions to help victims of the school and pay for its own failings.

“We fail to see how the … program operates independently of the school, especially as we know it was set up and run by board members of Geelong Grammar and its principal.”

“The issue is not so much the school seeking to provide support services to survivors, but that it is seeking funding through donations from former students.

“Ultimately the school is responsible for the many failings which created an environment where abuse was possible”.

She said the school had “exceptional resources and finances” available to it.

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