Lawyers representing former residents of the Newfoundland Training Schools who were allegedly sexually abused believe there are other abuse survivors who have yet to come forward.
Lynn Moore said her firm, Morris Martin Moore, is hearing from fewer women than men, even though "we know that women are sexually assaulted at higher rates than men," she said in a news release Tuesday.
"We do not want the women to be left behind. We want justice for everyone."
The class-action lawsuit was certified Oct. 4 at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. That started a 90-day notice period, which lets the public know about the class action, and provides potential claimants an opportunity to opt into it.
At that time, about 60 people were identified as potential claimants, with three representative members, but the true number won't be known until everything is done, Moore said.
About 1,200 children were housed in Newfoundland Training Schools in Whitbourne and Torbay, and in St. John's on Waterford Bridge Road and in the Pleasantville neighbourhood.
Survivors as young as 11: Moore
The class action covers the period between 1973 and 1989, and further action for residents from the 1950s to 1973 is also being explored, Moore said.
Moore said the claimants were abused by older residents and staff members, and some abuse survivors were as young as 11 years old.
The incidents reported, according to the statement, include students being beaten while naked, having members of the opposite sex observe children showering, being coerced into physical fights with other residents while in the shower, being strip-searched by members of the opposite sex, being punished for refusing sexual advances of staff members, and being subject to sexual comments by older residents and staff.
Moore is encouraging anyone who suffered sexual misconduct to contact her firm to be included in the class action.