Darcy was one of five children in a Queensland family. Growing up in the 1960s, he became a bit of a handful. Eventually he was caught stealing milk money and ended up in court on a charge of breaking and entering. Concerned that she couldn’t control him, his mother agreed that Darcy should be sent to a home for boys, run by the Salvation Army. Darcy was 13.
The home was a miserable experience for Darcy. There was a school there but he wasn’t allowed to attend. ‘They wouldn’t even teach me to read and write’, Darcy said. ‘They made me work on the pig farm.’
The boys were allowed to leave the home at weekends and Darcy’s brother would take him out on the back of his motorbike. A couple of times Darcy returned late and the punishment was severe. ‘When I came back late they put me in this – like a little cage, behind the freezer – no blanket, no mattress, just an old tin floor. I had to stay in there for about a week.’
On several occasions while in the home, Darcy was raped by older boys. Once he was making his bed in the morning and they assaulted him. Another time it happened at night. Staff were there while it was happening, he said, but just stood and watched. ‘They didn’t care and they didn’t do nothing about it’, he told the Commissioner.
Darcy wasn’t exactly sure how long he spent at the home but he thought it was some years. When he left there he went and lived with his mother for a while, moved away and then returned to live with her again. Now in his mid-50s he has never had a job and has been on an invalid pension all his working life.
He received $14,000 in compensation through a Queensland Government Redress Scheme but hasn’t reported his abuse to the police and doesn’t wish to. ‘I’m a quiet fella. I just stick to myself’, he said. His mother and his brother were the only people he’d talked to about his experience at the home.
Though still upset about the abuse, he told the Commissioner he didn’t have anything in particular he wanted to say about it. ‘Everyone was getting treated the way I was. Everybody’, he said.