Child abuse inquiry told of sexual assaults, beatings in Darwin home
Commission is hearing from members of the stolen generations who say they were abused in the Northern Territory
Helen Davidson theguardian.com, Monday 22 September 2014
Indigenous children were beaten, sexually assaulted, stripped and chained to beds, and forced to eat their own vomit, it has been alleged at the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on Monday.
The 17th public hearing of the royal commission began hearing from members of the stolen generations who say they were sexually abused at a Darwin home.
It’s examining how the government and administrators responded to the allegations of child sexual abuse by employees at the Retta Dixon home between 1946 and 1980, when it closed.
Retta Dixon was one of the main government-run homes for children of mixed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal descent forcibly removed from their families. Established by Christian missionaries in the 1930s, it also housed unmarried mothers and their babies, and temporary visitors. At its peak it held 120 people, according to the federal government’s 1997 Bringing Them Home report....
It is the first time the commission has held a hearing in the Northern Territory. It is also the first public hearing to predominantly involve Indigenous people.
A number of Aboriginal women gave evidence at the inquiry into the Parramatta Girls Home and Hay Institute.
Of all the people who have contacted the commission, 827 (18%) are Indigenous, the chief commissioner, Peter McClellan, said as he opened the public hearing on Monday morning.
He added that 9% of people coming to private sessions are from Aboriginal communities.
The inquiry into the Retta Dixon home is expected to run for about two weeks.