‘I was starting to get into trouble … when Mum and Dad split up. I was getting into trouble and that. I was a bit out of control, so … my mum sent me … to live with [my dad].’
When living with his father ‘didn’t work out very well’, Axel returned to live with his mother. ‘I was a bit out of control, so my mum sent me into foster care, and that’s when it pretty much all started for me … [I] started getting into a lot more trouble, you know, a lot of shit things were happening.’
Axel told the Commissioner that if he had someone to talk to when he was finding it difficult to deal with his parents splitting up, ‘it probably would have made a big difference’.
Axel was sent to a juvenile detention centre in Queensland in the early 2000s, when he was 13. While he was in the centre he was repeatedly sexually abused by one of the officers. Four years later, Axel was sent to another detention centre, where he encountered the same officer, who continued to sexually abuse him.
When Axel reported the abuse to a youth worker from Family Services, he ‘pretty much didn’t do anything. Just tried to sort of be a mate … like, just tried to be there for me, sort of thing’. He doesn’t know if the youth worker reported the abuse to anyone, but nothing was done about it.
‘I’ve sort of tried to block it out for a long time … so I’ve used drugs and alcohol and still pretty much struggle with drugs … to block out certain things. I don’t really like talking about it, bringing it up, because then it sort of refreshes it all in my mind, you know.’
The sexual abuse Axel experienced in the detention centres has made him, ‘sad, and after a while, sadness turned into anger. Like I said, I’ve struggled ever since I was 13 years old, I’ve struggled with hard drugs … and alcohol’ and these addictions have led him back to jail.
‘I don’t know if there’s a proper way to deal with it, but how I’ve tried dealing with it in the past obviously hasn’t helped. It’s just made matters worse … struggling with addiction and all that. Coming to jail. There’s not really much help in jail either, for it.'
‘I’ve spoken to the mother of my kids … She’s the only person I’ve pretty much trusted in my life … and she said, “Sometimes it’s better to talk to people you don’t know”. So that’s pretty much why I’m talking to you guys, ‘cause I sort of, I’ve pretty much tried a lot of things to forget about it.’
Axel came to the Royal Commission because he felt that he had ‘been holding something inside me for a very long time … I’ve got young kids myself now and sort of don’t want to keep living the same lifestyle … So I just wanna, I dunno, pretty much get it off my chest … try and deal with it in a different way than what I have, because it’s pretty much wrecked my life’.
Axel told the Commissioner, ‘It makes me feel good that I’m helping you guys to get a better sort of … and everyone else that’s talking to you guys or whatever … ‘cause I’d hate for something to happen to my kids what’s happened to me, you know'.
‘I wish I knew something so it wouldn’t happen to other kids. It’s pretty sad. I don’t know. There are good people out there. There’s a lot of shit people out there, too.’