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Barrie's story

Barrie grew up in regional Victoria with his mother, and four brothers and sisters. His father left home when he was young and his mother’s new boyfriend moved in with them. This man sexually assaulted Barrie, and his siblings, throughout his childhood.

Barrie told the Commissioner he thought his mother knew about the abuse, but she did nothing about it.

When he was about six, one of his brothers reported the abuse to a school teacher and the children were made state wards and placed in a home in Sydney.

After a couple of years, Barrie went back to Victoria to live with his grandmother. However, he started acting up and was sent to an orphanage run by the Christian Brothers, despite not coming from a Catholic background.

Barrie said the Brothers would beat the boys, ‘but their main thing was sexual stuff’, such as touching him and getting him to touch them. He said the Brothers targeted children individually but a lot of them were involved.

After about a year he returned to live with his grandmother in regional Victoria and went back to school, but he struggled academically.

‘I always had trouble finding work ’cause I didn’t do well at school. I think what’s happened in life is I just couldn’t get it together.’

Since leaving school, Barrie has spent much of his life in prison and is currently serving a sentence for a violent crime. He believes the child sexual abuse he suffered has had an effect on his history of offending.

He has always had trouble holding relationships together, particularly with women. He has been married, and he has three sons, but his wife won’t let him have any contact with them. His mother passed away and since he’s been in jail his siblings have broken off contact with him too, leaving his grandmother as the only family member with whom he is still in touch.

Barrie has had some counselling, but he told the Commissioner he has difficulties sleeping, and has memories and flashbacks about the abuse.

‘I still sometimes feel upset. Sometimes I feel angry. It’s sort of like buried. I’m up and down and all that. I’ve been on medication all my life now for depression and anxiety.’

Barrie found it difficult to tell his story but he was happy to learn that the orphanage had closed down. He said the best outcome for him would be for his perpetrators to be put away for what they did.

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