Orphans who say they were abused as children in Salvation Army homes are demanding compensation from the Christian charity.

A group of about 20 held a silent protest outside the charity's Sydney headquarters on Monday, urging the Salvos to contribute to a reparations fund to help rebuild victims' shattered lives.

A spokeswoman for Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN), the organisation representing alleged victims, said many of the protesters had been terribly abused between the 1920s and 1980s.

"Heinous crimes were committed against them while in the care of the Salvation Army," Leonie Sheedy told AAP.

"The boys and girls in those homes suffered sexual rape, beating, floggings," she said.

They were dehumanised and "they lost their parents, they were made to work on farms and in the orphanages."

Ms Sheedy said it wants the Salvation Army to be the first organisation to go to the federal government and contribute to an independent reparations fund for victims of childhood abuse.

The group alleges that abuse took place in numerous NSW homes run by the charity including Bexley Boys Home in Bexley North, Algate House Boys Home in Broken Hill, Salvation Army Girls Home in Stanmore and Manly Boys Home in Dee Why.

CLAN is an advocacy network for people who grew up in Australia's more than 600 orphanages, children's homes and foster care and was one of the key stakeholders calling for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The group, which will be giving evidence to the commission later this year, says about half a million Australian children were brought up in "care" in the 20th Century.

Comment was being sought from the Salvation Army.

 

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