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Broderick's story

In the mid-90s, when Broderick was about eight years old, he and his family moved to the Northern Territory.

‘My dad kind of made it a difficult childhood for most of the part. He got into drugs, became abusive, and often … inappropriate, I suppose I’d say. Nothing physical happened to me or any of my brothers but a lot of psychological stuff went down. It’s hard to talk about ...’

As his substance abuse increased, Broderick’s father was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He started having delusions, telling the family he was God and that the Bible encouraged incest between parents and children. ‘And then one day he actually made us all sit down and watch him have sex with our mother.’

Broderick said that even before this his mother had become very frightened of his father, however it would be a couple of years before she was able to take the children to a new home where Broderick’s father couldn’t find them.

Broderick ended up in a Christian youth refuge in Darwin, where he met a caseworker named Julian. ‘He was always friendly with everyone. A little too friendly sometimes.

‘On occasion I caught him looking through the windows to the shower blocks, watching people have showers, me included.’

Broderick recounted that Julian would try to get the male residents to give him massages, ‘rubbing his leg and stuff like that. But I didn’t do any of that with him’.

He never told anyone about Julian, and left the refuge after a few months.

After that Broderick said he was ‘in and out of homelessness for a number of years, working a lot, doing lots of different jobs’.

He had also started looking at child pornography.

‘From pretty much the start I knew it was wrong, I shouldn’t be doing it, so I’d been battling with that for many number of years. And I tried to get some help.

‘The first thing I got given when I went to this counselling was a little waiver that I had to sign saying that any child abuse information had to be reported to the police, so it kind of scared me away from talking about what I actually went there to talk about.

‘I hadn’t offended against anyone at the time, I just had pictures … ‘

Broderick then tried to find help online. ‘I thought if I could freely talk about everything with other people, and not have any repercussions because they don’t know who I am, then maybe it would help. But it ended up doing the complete opposite and gave me more access to everything so … that’s why it just snowballed.’

A few years later, in his mid 20s, Broderick was convicted of child sex offences. When he spoke with the Royal Commission, he still had a number of years to go on his sentence.

While he’s never forgotten the behaviour of his father and Julian, Broderick wasn’t sure if they had turned him into a sex offender. ‘I suppose, somewhere in my mind I feel I’ve got to blame it on something. But I don’t know if that’s the case or if it’s just my own sick and twisted mind.

‘I don’t want to justify my actions by something that happened to me 20 years ago, you know?’

Broderick knows he deserves to be punished, but he also wants to be rehabilitated, starting with a program for sex offenders. ‘I want to do one as soon as I can. The way I think it should be done is, I should be able to do one closer to the start of my sentence, and then closer to the end of my sentence do a refresher. Because at the moment I’m not getting any help.’

He also said that there should be more support for abuse survivors in prison, and anyone struggling with thoughts of child sexual abuse should be able to talk to a counsellor without the risk of being referred to police.

When he spoke to the Commissioner, Broderick had a long way to go. But he’s going to use his time as best he can. ‘I’ve been trying to sort of self-help … every time I get any kind of thoughts that I shouldn’t be having I stop, think about it, stop the thought straight there and think about something completely different. And it has helped. I do feel less inclined to think about all that stuff.’

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