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Evan Patrick's story

In the mid-1960s, when he was one, Evan was made a ward of the state, and was sent to a children’s home run by the Anglican Church in Victoria. He remained there until he was six.

Evan told the Commissioner that he was a normal, happy child until he was four, when he was ‘taken in the room where Mrs Forster, who was in charge of the boys’ home, was sitting behind a desk. There was a gentleman in that room … he approached me and started fondling me in my genital areas … Mrs Forster just sat there looking … I lost my childhood then and there’.

Evan spent holidays with the Tucker family, ‘the only people that give me a feeling of love and understanding of what it would be like to be bought up in a family’. After the abuse he experienced, he believes Mrs Tucker may have noticed a change in his behaviour. ‘I became negative towards affection … I just wanted to just run away from it. I just didn’t want to be ever hurt again. It stole my childhood at that stage.’

Evan didn’t report what had happened because at the home the children were told that they should be seen and not heard. If Evan cried when he came back from holidays with the Tucker family, he was locked in a room until his emotions were under control. ‘I was punished all the time. I was punished if I cried … I was taken and belted with a strap and that, and then no tea, because I was crying.’

Evan was sent to a second Anglican-run children’s home when he was six, and it was there that he met a man who asked if he could take some photographs of him. Evan told the Commissioner, ‘I thought not much of it but when I was taken out … [into] the forest … and he took photos alright. He took photos of what he did to me. He sexually assaulted me … and [took] photos.

‘To this day now, I just hate meself and I feel disgusted … because I don’t know where those photos are and it’s just not right’. The man threatened to ‘come back and get me’, if Evan told.

When Evan was 11, his biological father re-appeared and because the children’s home was about to close down, Evan was sent to live with him. Evan told the Commissioner that his father ‘is one of the most animal, most filthiest and dirtiest person I have ever met in my life and I will not hold back … and when I do swear, please forgive me, ‘cause I don’t mean to. At the age of 11 he came back into my life … He was … [a] stranger’.

Evan became seriously ill and spent months in hospital. Although he repeatedly tried to report his father’s violence and alcohol abuse to his caseworker and to medical staff, no one listened. ‘I cried. I screamed for help. And everyone just turned blind eyes. They sent me to a psychologist in the hospital … and he said to me, “Stop telling lies … You’ve got an anger problem”. So I kicked the guy in the kneecap.’

One night Evan’s father came home ‘in the most irate state of his life. He tried to kill me that night … tried to smash my head into the brick wall’. When his father threatened to sexually abuse him, Evan packed his belongings and left.

‘I was angry. I was violent. I was an absolute mess.’ After a few weeks spent living on the streets, Evan contacted Mr Tucker, who gave him some work, but Evan was too out of control and he ended up back on the streets.

Evan eventually met a social worker who took him under her wing and he began to sort himself out. ‘Mr Tucker was trying to show me love and I was rebelling from it. Until I got to the age of 30 I didn’t know what I was doing … I didn’t become a man until I was 40.’

Evan suffers from major depression, anxiety and trust issues, and has attempted suicide a number of times. ‘The nightmares go on. And unfortunately they will go on and I’ve just got to learn better ways of … I am proud now I don’t hit the brick walls. I don’t go out and physically scream at people … Now I’m learning to accept a love and a hug and things like that.’

Evan considered killing his violent father, but thought ‘that’s a coward way of looking … I wanted to become someone who I could be proud of, you know. Some who is … come from a violent background and hatred and everything else, and try and turn that around and start helping people around me and that. So I’m proud of who I am right now’.

Evan believes it would have helped ‘to have someone there to just believe [me] the first time and just say it wasn’t just my anger … I had a right to be angry and when I tried to tell a story, they just wouldn’t believe the story and … “You’ve made this up … Stop lying”’.

He told the Commissioner, ‘If a child says something’s happened, then you look into it, investigate it and offer counselling’.

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