Harrowing tales at abuse royal commission
By Australian Associated Press
29 June 2014
Forty years later in 2006 the man giving evidence read an article by Tommy Campion, another former resident of the North Coast Children's Home....
In the 1980s he had been diagnosed with depression and attempted suicide several times. He now had leukaemia. In broken voice he told of beatings that left him scarred; of being left at a table for ten hours because he could not eat the food. If he threw up he would be made to eat the vomit.
A priest who seemed kind made him lie naked while he performed a pseudo-religious ritual that involved molesting him sexually....
His life has been no life just like many among the thousands of people who are coming forward to tell their stories - often for the first time....
Children of abuse survivors are learning for the first time why their mum or dad could never hug them. A landscape of broken lives, failed relationships, drug use, anger, suicides, bravery and extraordinary honesty while people struggle still for happiness is being painted by these witnesses.
Preparing for and giving evidence is a renewed trauma and the commission always has counsellors on hand to help them through.
Institutions, the Christian and Marist brothers, the Salvation Army, Catholic and Anglican dioceses, the YMCA, Scouts Australia, state run child-protection agencies and police forces across the country are trying to explain how it happened on their watch.
When a Salvation Army witness started to say how different standards of child discipline in the 1960s and `70s might explain why boys were beaten until they bled in homes in NSW and Queensland, commission chair Justice Peter McClellan interrupted to remind her she was talking about criminal assaults.
Brand protection, systemic failures, wilful ignorances, whether it be in the YMCA, the Scouts or the Catholic Church are being uncovered daily at these hearings.
The Catholic and Anglican churches moved abusers when complaints were made.
They kept no records that can now be produced.
In the case of the Marist Brothers, a man who was jailed for 12 years in 2006 was put on a plane to a clinic for sex-offending priests in Canada three days after the order knew police were investigating him for offences dating back years....