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Garrick's story

‘I must have been a young stupid kid and that, I got myself in a bit of shit.’

Garrick didn’t talk much about his family, other than to say he was brought up to respect his parents and if he didn’t do what his father wanted he’d be given a belting.

Whatever trouble he got into at age 11, it landed him in a youth training centre in Melbourne in the mid-1960s. He slept in a room with another boy and at night times, one of the male carers, Mr Grey, would come into their room.

‘I was on the top bunk and he used to sneak in at night times and start playing around with me. And he’d drag me out of bed and take me to his room and tell me to take my pants down, and then he’d be into me.’

Grey raped Garrick repeatedly over a period of two years. Garrick saw other kids being taken into Grey’s room, including his roommate, so he believes they were being abused too.

‘One night we thought we’d do a runner from this boys’ home and we were probably gone for some time, exactly how long I’m not sure, but the cops got hold of us anyway and I tried to tell them what was going on and they said “We’ll take you back to the boys’ home and keep your mouth shut. Just shut up” …

‘Mr Grey was there … and he said “Get to your room and keep your mouth shut”. And we had to try and forget about it.’

Garrick acknowledged the boys were in the home because they’d messed up, but that they still did not deserve that treatment. Because of their complete failure to help him and his friend, Garrick has never trusted the police again and he’s very bitter towards them.

‘I thought “Well, you’re supposed to be the law you know” … but they didn’t want to know about this other thing that was actually happening to us.’

After he got out of the home at about age 13, he didn’t tell anyone about the abuse.

‘No one seemed to be interested. Things like that, you don’t go around bragging about it … It’s something you don’t want to open up about. You don’t want to keep it a secret but you don’t want to tell anyone about it because it’s an embarrassment to you.’

As an adult Garrick worked in various jobs, but he also got involved in a lot of criminal activity and is currently serving a long custodial sentence. He said he never turned to drugs, but the abuse left him with a lot of anger and hatred. It fed into how he views society and the choices he made in life.

‘It sort of helped me get in trouble with the law. I think it’s my way of getting a payback, you know, try and get even or something.’

Garrick has been married and has children but these relationships have broken down and his children don’t see him anymore. It takes him a long time to trust people and he continues to have nightmares and flashbacks about the abuse.

Talking to the Royal Commission was the first time he’s told anyone about the abuse since running away from the home all those years ago.

‘I’ve got cancer they tell me, so I just want to get everything sorted out before my days come … It’s sort of rushed me because I think “How much time have I got left?” and I want it all brought out in the open so it doesn’t happen to any other poor kid …

‘I just hope something gets done to stop these sick bastards.’

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