'Deserve recognition for permanent scars': Deceased Fairbridge farm school victims' families miss out

'Too late': The government is now offering compensation to survivors of the Fairbridge Farm Schools but for those who have passed their families can't seek payments. Photo: Supplied.
'Too late': The government is now offering compensation to survivors of the Fairbridge Farm Schools but for those who have passed their families can't seek payments. Photo: Supplied.

The Pinjarra Fairbridge Farm School closed in 1981. But the trauma child migrants and Aboriginal youths faced is still harming generations of their families.

Peter Warr-Hassall, who's late father was one of many victims of abuse at the Fairbridge Farm School, says his family are still living with the effects of the trauma his dad endured.

"We had fathers who were emotionally cold and uninvolved, wives who felt unloved and helpless, working tirelessly to bolster a husband's confidence," he said.

"Put up with his drinking, trying to keep the family unit to some version of normality, I could go on.

"Some were also abused by their fathers as a result of the traumatic psychological effects at Fairbridge Farm School.

"My father's life amounts to a lonely widow and a son on disability, I can't even be a proper dad to my kids so now they suffer."

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Since March, 2021, survivors of the schools, where children were subjected to sexual, physical and mental abuse, were able to seek payments from the National Redress Scheme.

Normally, if the victim dies from unrelated causes, their representative continues the case and any awarded compensation goes to the deceased's estate

But for relatives of victims who passed away before an application for redress was made this is not the case.

Why should the deceased be forgotten?

Peter Warr-Hassall

According to the National Redress Scheme, "you can't apply on behalf of a person who has died".

"Why should the deceased be forgotten? Don't they realise that the families who survive them are still living with the results of the abuse these boys suffered?," Mr Warr-Hassall said.

"Don't we not only deserve some kind of recognition for our lacklustre lives and permanent scars, but also men like my father need to be given the same consideration as the living.

"To pass some semblance of compensation to their families, who suffered alongside them and still do today."

Mr Warr-Hassall said his family and many other victim's relatives deserved better.

"I am appalled at the disgraceful time taken to get a result for these victims," he said.

"I get so frustrated, my father also missed out on his father's inheritance because he was sent to Fairbridge from England.

"They can forget me, but my mother is alone in government housing, ill health is her constant companion, she deserves better."