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Glenn Damien's story

In the late 1980s, when Glenn was 16 years old, he got into trouble with the law and was sent to a juvenile detention centre in regional Queensland. After being put to work in the laundry, he was sexually abused by his supervisor.

‘Just getting stripped naked and told to stand in the corner, getting whacked with wet towels, like rolled up towels, getting whacked with them. Used to go on for about ten minutes, get whacked around.

‘Then he’d stop and then the next bloke would cop it. Then we’d get back and sit down, and get down to doing our jobs.’

Glenn did not report this abuse as he felt ashamed. He was also physically assaulted by a number of staff members.

After leaving detention Glenn’s mother arranged a job. ‘I started working and just tried putting everything behind me. And three months later I went back in jail again, for stealing cars.’

Although Glenn does not blame the abuse for his later offending, he recognises that it may have contributed in some way. ‘I was headed the wrong way anyway and this just added to it, didn’t it?’

Glenn spoke to the Commissioner from a correctional centre, just before he was due to be released. It was the first time he had told anyone what had happened.

Despite having attempted suicide a few times, Glenn has never had any counselling. Once he ended up in hospital, but did not disclose the abuse to the doctors or nurses. They didn’t ask if something had happened to prompt the attempt, either.

He heard about a state redress scheme some years ago, but ‘I didn’t speak up then, so I thought I better speak up now ... I’m not up for any money, I just want to get some help, get something done about it’.

Glenn is hoping he can get some counselling and support once he is back in the community after so many years ‘not dealing with it, not coping with it, not knowing how to process it ... having no help understanding why it happened and all that’.

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