The tragic toll of child abuse: 12 of the 33 children in this 1973 class photo took their own lives after years of sexual and physical abuse at Ballarat Catholic school

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The picture shows the 1973 Grade 4 class of St Alipius’ Christian Brothers School in Ballarat. In the second row from the front, standing fourth from the right with his head tilted is Philip Nagle.

As he looks at the image today, instead of bringing a smile to his face, it only stirs up feelings of sorrow and rage, as he claims 12 out of the 33 pupils pictured went on to commit suicide because of the sexual and physical abuse that took place at the school.

The ones not coming forward are the ones who are killing themselves. Twelve in my class committed suicide,’ Mr Nagle told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Nagle said that some did it indirectly after years of alcoholism and drug use, because they couldn’t deal with what was done to them.