Within a year of her birth in the late 1970s, Hannie was placed with a foster carer in western Sydney. When Hannie was almost in her teens, her carer died, and she was placed into the care of a relative.
A year or two later, Hannie went by herself to the local police station. ‘I went there for some help for my girlfriend. She had an abusive boyfriend. I just wanted to see if they could help, take him out of the picture basically.’
Sergeant Adam Kennedy, who was in his 50s, spoke to Hannie for a long time and made her feel comfortable. When the other police officers left for a job, Kennedy ‘left the room a few minutes later. He still spoke to me the whole time … He returned later with his penis hanging out’. He then had sex with her.
Afterwards, Hannie continued to see Kennedy. ‘Basically I was told by him I had to’, she said. ‘I was told all the time I had to phone him every shift that he done, and then he would give me a time that I had to go in, and it was basically when all the bosses were left … He ran the police station of a night. He done night shifts.’
Kennedy had sex with Hannie in police stations and in remote locations in his parked car, and gave her money to buy marijuana. ‘He knew how old I was. He looked up my record. He looked up my family’s records … He told me they would never come looking for me. He was right. But he did know my age.’
Kennedy continued to abuse Hannie in this way for seven or eight years. ‘He used to say to me all the time that it was the norm that they do that to Aboriginals.’
When Hannie was in her early 20s, and in a sexual relationship with another man, Kennedy became upset. He drove Hannie’s biological mother to her house, and did not intervene when her mother attacked her. ‘He had me assaulted’, Hannie said.
The police were called, and Hannie made a statement which included ‘everything’, the sexual assaults as well and the physical attack. However, the police did ‘nothing really’. ‘It was sort of brushed away. They were more interested in him taking me to gain marijuana … and that he’d let me drive unlicensed.’
With the assistance of a community legal service, Hannie later obtained a copy of the internal investigation the police conducted into her matter in the late 1990s. The report revealed that Kennedy denied having a sexual relationship with Hannie, and that insufficient evidence and Kennedy’s retirement were given as reasons why no further action was taken in relation to her disclosure.
After the physical assault, Hannie said that she ‘just hid basically’. At one point, she tried to ‘hunt him down’. ‘I was searching for him because I thought that he should be dead, and I just wanted to go and wreck his grave up, and then I found out he’s still, he’s still doing the same stuff that he’s always done.’
Almost two decades after the physical assault, Hannie’s ‘constant fear of always being attacked’ still compels her to not leave the house until she has done her hair in a style that Kennedy would not recognise.
Now in her 40s, Hannie is ‘sick of hiding’ and sick of her ‘problems going out in public and being around people’, and wants ‘some justice for that’. Even though a more recent attempt to get the police to further investigate her report of child sexual abuse did not succeed, she continues to work with a community legal service to push for the prosecution of Kennedy and a civil claim against the police, and now has witnesses willing to corroborate her story.
Hannie also has the support of a good counsellor who visits her in her home.