Glynn David's story

Glynn was made a ward of the state at the age of about two or three. He and his brother were sent to numerous government-run children’s homes around Sydney for years and in each place the boys were in, both were sexually abused.

Glynn’s first memories of abuse are from the early 1970s when he was seven. The following years, through childhood and up until he was 18, remain marked for him with the near constant experience of being sexually abused. As well as workers, older boys and visitors to the homes, a foster mother and father also abused him.

Because he needed frequent hospital treatment, Glynn was also sexually abused by numerous different men who escorted him via taxi transport to hospital. He was subjected to further abuse by a medical doctor, a hospital security guard and Rotary and Lions Club members who, under the pretext of taking him on outings, took him instead to their houses and abused him there.

On occasions, the perpetrators of abuse would offer him lollies and ice cream and Glynn ‘went along with it’.

Many were threatening, and in one of the boys’ homes the person in charge ‘had a bamboo stick and they’d cane you on your penis’. One of the Rotary or Lions Club members had a handgun that he’d take out of his drawer to show Glynn. ‘He’d say, “If you say anything, this is yours”, but I mean not mine as a gun.’

The ‘saddest thing’, Glynn said, was that when he ‘learnt to say no’ to anal rape, workers started abusing other boys.

‘Most of the kids that grew up in youth and community service, there’s a very high percentage that are in jail or dead from suicide, so some of my mates sadly are dead’, Glynn said, and he wanted ‘to give those people justice’.

He described living on the streets at 15 and going to the Sydney office of youth services with other homeless kids to ‘beg for a handout, beg to take us back as wards’.

Although they would remain wards of the state until they turned 18, they weren’t given any practical assistance or support. Glynn’s brother’s welfare file notes a request by him and several others for help and the subsequent refusal by government workers.

‘They helped us onto the street’, Glynn said. ‘They knew what was happening to us on the street and they left us on the street, and they left us to suffer what we suffered and we didn’t go rob people, we didn’t break the laws, we didn’t commit offences, but we did that to survive cause we learnt that from the boys’ home. And they got away with it.’

In the 1980s, Glynn took civil action against the state government. The defence argued in court that because his file had been ‘burnt in a massive fire’ he couldn’t be awarded damages for his allegation of ‘neglect’.

Glynn thought it was a clear case of the government lying, and although both his and his brother’s files subsequently turned up, it was too late for his claim. Among other notes in the files, Glynn read that the hospital security guard who’d first abused him while he was an inpatient and who’d subsequently ‘followed’ him and his brother ‘for many years’ through various boys’ homes, had been suspected of being a paedophile.

‘They had concerns that he might have been a paedophile but still allowed him until 1978 to visit us and that’s on my brother’s file. That’s the file from the whole boys’ home … the state New South Wales youth and community file. Absolutely, it’s clear. They did a search on him and couldn’t find it, but there were suspicions of him being a paedophile and they allowed him to keep visiting us for all that time.’

Glynn said he wasn’t ‘blaming today’s government without any doubt, but it needs to be told what happened and places need to put into effect that it doesn’t happen again’.

He’d recently been in contact with NSW Police with a view to reporting those perpetrators whose names he could remember.

As an adult Glynn had had a long marriage and many children. He’d previously been on a disability support pension after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, but was now working within a state government department.


He’d come to the Royal Commission after he’d had ‘enough of hearing “Catholic”’, and wondered why no one was talking about children abused in state government care.

‘My main goal to come here today, as I said, is to have anyone that’s living to be brought to justice, but mainly for the Department of Youth and Community Service to know their mistakes and for those mistakes in the 21st century not to be repeated over and over again …

‘It’s about justice, not just for me, but for all those other kids, and things to be put into place in the future and the government to take notice to put those into place … because if institutions are going to keep going forward, hostels, child cares and if you don’t put these things into place, it’s going to just repeat. It’s going to carry on, and we need to make a change and once that change puts in place, then we can minimise the risk. That’s why I’m really happy to be here … That’s why I came, people like you to want to hear our stories, to put a stamp to it.’

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