‘I’ve accepted what’s happened to me. I don’t want this happening to any other kids. To me growing up with it, that was normal to me. It didn’t seem wrong at all until recently, and I want to change that and change people’s views on it – and make it to be wrong, very wrong.’
When Allen was young his parents separated. His mother was a drug addict and he was brought to the attention of child welfare in Queensland. He wasn’t placed into foster or residential care but spent time moving between his mother, his father and his grandmother. Orders were issued to take him away from family care but Allen doesn’t believe they were ever acted on.
‘My mum was violent. When she’d come down off the drugs she’d start throwing stuff at me and smashing everything.’
When he was eight, he was sent to his mother’s place to live, because ‘I’d run away from Dad a lot’. His mother had a new partner who had older children. During the six months that Allen lived at the house, his older stepsister raped him almost every day.
‘I told her [his mother] probably a year later but she didn’t really believe me.’
In 1999 when Allen was 12, his mother introduced him to sex work and would regularly organise clients for him. One of his clients was a Catholic headmaster.
When he was 14 he was picked up by the police for prostitution.
‘I think that the police done [as] much [as] they could because I’ve been arrested for it, public soliciting. And I was done at 14. They gave me a warning but [the] times after that they just leave you alone. I was working on the street too … They absolutely do tolerate it.’
Allen doesn’t understand why he wasn’t referred by police to child services.
‘I wish they were a bit more strict than a caution in the beginning … I don’t know why that didn’t happen.’
He moved his sex work online after the caution and he knows that his youth was a drawcard. Allen continued as a sex worker until he was in his late teens.
‘If I’m honest, I made [a lot of money] between the age of 12 and 17. After 17 business died down.’
The extensive sexual abuse he experienced from a very young age has significantly impacted his life.
‘It’s impacted my life majorly. I’m in jail because of it. It led up to that from the use of drugs, and then having to go out and do break and enters to support my drugs. That’s what I’m in jail for. I’ve lost everything. I’ve lost trust with my dad. I’ve lost good jobs. I’ve lost my whole life to Mum. And she still tries to manipulate me.’
His relationships have suffered because of the abuse too.
‘I find it very hard to find friends … I’ve been mentally damaged as well. I have depression and PTSD and severe social anxiety, which I’m medicated for … I see a psych every fortnight. It’s hard for me to gain that relationship with someone. It’s like I always see some bad in people – it’s never good.’
Allen’s much younger brother is now in foster care because of his mother’s violence. Allen believes that if he had been placed in foster care, his life would have been completely different. He is now going through the process to access his welfare records to find out what authorities knew or did in relation to his care.
Allen has been trying to build his resilience and employment potential for when he is released from jail.
‘I just go into my room and block it all out ... I study a lot and I work a lot all day.’
And his father has been completely supportive since Allen told him about the abuse.
‘He visits me every week … He is very tremendous in support. He is a very strong person.’
Allen decided to speak with the Royal Commission after being re-sentenced to jail and realising that paedophiles are serving their sentences alongside him.
‘There’s a lot of paedophiles here in jail and that’s changed my view. I don’t like it. It’s disgusting. And just seeing how they are treated here – they’re treated with respect. They [abusers] took away my rights and my dignity … but to see them like that it’s ridiculous.’