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Analise's story

Analise was one of numerous children in what she described as ‘a very dysfunctional family’, in the mid-1960s. Although she has limited memories of her life as an infant, she knows she was removed from her parents at a young age because of the sexual abuse she was subjected to. ‘I don’t have a lot of memories about my natural family, and what I do remember I wish that I could forget.’

After being removed from her parents, Analise and her younger brother were placed in a Perth children’s home before entering foster care. Analise told the Commissioner that the memory of how her first foster mother would punish her little brother is ‘one of my most tormenting’.

‘The first family I went to … was the Norris family. And that lady was very, very abusive to us ... She used to hang my youngest brother up on the rafters.’

When Analise was 10 years old she was sent to live with the Greenwich family, who fostered several other girls around the same age. Her foster father, Denis Greenwich, would come into her room at night, take her downstairs, order her to remain silent and sexually abuse her.

‘I guess I’ve blocked some things away and I hope that I don’t remember them. You know, like he ordered to shut up. And he ordered that I get naked in front of the family dogs … In all honesty I don’t remember a lot about it. All I know that he was waking us up at night times, making us go downstairs, touch him and I remember him putting his hand over my mouth, telling me to shut up … I really don’t really, really want to remember.’

When Analise was 14 she was removed from foster care and returned to the children’s home, from where she repeatedly absconded.

‘I remember when I returned to [the home] I started running away because I knew where my parents were. And of course every child thinks that they want to know their parents even though, in seriousness and severity, my parents, like I told you before, it was a very dysfunctional family. There was no love or affection or what ordinary families are like.’

As a young adult, Analise’s life went off the rails. She became homeless and addicted to drugs. She eventually met the man she later married and had children with, and although the marriage was a good one, she believed her children would be better off without her and left them with their father.

‘I had a good marriage … but I left because – I believe because of abuse I suffered when I was younger … I had a lot of problems. I needed a lot of emotional support and things. Half my life was unresolved. And I left the marriage and left my two children that I had in that marriage so that my girls could only have one home, unlike myself. And I started abusing myself with drugs, which put me on the street.’

Since then Analise has lived on and off the streets but is currently working with different support providers to get back on her feet. ‘All I want to do is have a normal life. As normal as I possibly can.’

Analise has never reported her abusers nor made any civil claims. However, several years ago she was contacted by ‘a very, very kind and considerate’ police officer in relation to Denis Greenwich. Her foster sisters had reported Greenwich and named Analise as a potential witness.

‘I had no knowledge that it was happening to my foster sisters and we have never seen each other. Only by that one police contact that it was disclosed that the foster sisters thought and suspected it was happening to me too … The foster sisters and myself had never disclosed to each other because you’re not allowed to talk. And he made sure that you were threatened, that you weren’t to talk. I wasn’t like other children where I could’ve confided in anyone because you live in fear.’

Analise gave statements to the police ‘as best I could … It can only add to my healing that I’ve told the appropriate authorities how it really is’. She is still anxiously awaiting information from the police as to the outcome of the investigation.

‘I live in a bit of fear wondering. He knows what he’s done to our lives. Is he gonna come back and are we safe? … Can we be safe in our own homes?’

Analise still experiences depression, anxiety, self-harming and parenting issues as a result of her abusive childhood but has been able to rebuild her relationship with her children, whom she described as ‘forgiving’. She strongly believes there is a clear need for children in foster care to be regularly checked in on, and for there to be comprehensive checks on potential foster parents before children are placed in their care.

‘I really feel that the authorities should at least get the welfare authorities to check on the children that are in foster care … It does mess your life and it’s a long road back to healing.’

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