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Boris's story

‘I was like a Gypsy I suppose. We moved around from old dwellings to old dwellings … basically lived in old houses that were getting knocked down. We might stay there for six months and when the bulldozer came through we’d go to the next one.’

Boris grew up in New South Wales in a highly dysfunctional family that was well known to the Department of Community Services by the 1970s. His parents both drank heavily and took little notice of their children.

‘The relationship between me and my so-called mother and father was one of, yeah - it didn’t exist.’

Apart from neglect Boris and his brothers faced another threat. ‘From the age of five I was sexually abused by my father’s brother, my uncle, and this happened for quite some years.’ Boris believes his parents knew about his uncle’s attacks but did nothing and even protected the man at times. He was frequently allowed unsupervised access to the children.

The uncle was arrested and sent to jail for child sex offences when Boris was about eight years old. He did not spend long in jail. About this time DOCS removed Boris from the current family home and moved him into hostel care. Boris recalls living in several different institutions, and also frequently being returned to his parents and further abuse by his uncle.

When he was 14 years old Boris was placed by DOCS in a hostel in Sydney’s north-west, where he lived with boys and older men. A man in his 20s befriended Boris, but then began to sexually abuse him. This happened ‘two or three times a week’ for the seven months Boris spent at that hostel.

On one occasion Boris’s uncle visited him. His uncle brought a younger boy from the hostel into Boris’s room. ‘Then I was more or less forced to engage and have intercourse and so forth with him and the young kid.’

Boris eventually returned to his family. He tried to continue his interrupted schooling. Boris formed a relationship with a girl who lived nearby and became a teenaged father. Throughout this stage of his life his uncle’s abuse continued, until Boris turned 19.

‘Basically it stopped the day I killed him.’

That day Boris had taken a gun and gone to his uncle’s home. ‘My intentions were to bash him and let him crawl back to society and let him understand what pain and suffering was about. Unfortunately I lost control and a lot of anger got in the way I suppose.’

Boris handed himself in to police. The courts took his history of abuse into account and Boris went to jail on a charge of manslaughter, rather than murder.

Upon release Boris found work and tried to resume his life. He married and had children. Boris believes he had trouble trusting people because of his years of abuse and his relationships suffered because of this. He began to drink heavily and became addicted to pain medication. Boris was convicted of further violent crime in his 20s. He has spent much of his life in jail.

‘I know that I’ve made mistakes in my life and I take one hundred percent responsibility for my own actions. However I believe that the contributing factor to it all is my childhood and I know that … this part of my life I have to find someone to trust and embark upon that and address it because if I don’t it’s just going to eat away at me.’

Boris has been slow to seek counselling and still struggles to trust people.

‘I have a lot of shame a lot of guilt a lot of anger and a lot of resentment that I still carry today and I’m reluctant to admit that. Because sometimes people might respond to that differently and say hang on a minute he’s not ready to get out of jail.’

‘I don’t blame anybody else but at the end of the day it’s the call of my childhood and everything else has certainly shaped things for me.’

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