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Cal Eric's story

Cal wasn’t a ‘well-behaved boy’. He often wagged school and got into trouble with his parents for being disruptive at home. In the late 1960s, when he was 13, the police caught him stealing a motor vehicle and he was taken from his family into state care. He was placed into a boys’ home in a small town in New South Wales.

He tried to run away from the boys’ home numerous times. He witnessed a lot of abuse of other residents by the officers but wasn’t sexually abused there himself. After several months, he successfully escaped and made his way back to his hometown.

Cal knew he couldn’t go home because his mother would ‘do the right thing’ and return him to the boys’ home. As he was walking around he came into contact with one of his school friends, who introduced him to an older man. He needed a place to stay and this man gave him shelter but there was a price to pay.

‘I had nowhere to go, I had to [stay with them]. I’ve had some unspeakable things happen to me.’

For several months, Cal was sexually abused and molested by a series of strange men in the house he was living in. He said he had to exchange sexual acts for food and a place to stay. He also believes photographs were taken of him while he was there.

After a while the situation became too much for him and he went to his family’s home for a visit, and his mother returned him to the boys’ home. He absconded shortly after his return and was then caught by police and sent to a different home in another town.

Cal ran away again and arrived back in his hometown, where he got involved in a ‘hoodlum gang’ with other boys his age. The gang committed a serious crime and when he was 16, Cal was sent to prison and served a three year sentence.

He said after he was released from prison, he was ‘lost’ and played ‘catch-up’ with life. He got involved in more criminal activity and became addicted to heroin for several decades. He was in and out of jail for over 20 years.

As an adult, Cal has suffered from flashbacks about the abuse, and found it difficult to give up drugs. He is unable to work due to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident and a serious health condition and now lives on a government pension.

His first disclosure of the abuse he suffered was to the Royal Commission as he said he’s never had anyone to tell. ‘I’ve held this in since [the 1960s].’

He doesn’t know the names of the men who abused him so he’s never reported them to the police. He intends to apply for compensation in the next few years.

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