Jaysen didn’t see himself ‘as a bad kid’ but when trouble happened in town he felt he was always held responsible.
‘I’d be in five different places in one day doing trouble. All the other kids were perfect angels. I was the only one that was the troublemaker. I used to do the crime, used to do everything you know, smash windows, it was all me. I got blamed for everything.’
He had a health condition that made him look different from other kids, and this led to a lot of bullying. He was always fighting.
‘When I got bullied, I didn’t take it on the chin. I didn’t take it laying down, I’d get up and I’d stand my ground.’
Jaysen recounted that two police officers in his Victorian town seemed to go out of their way to harass him, sometimes driving him to remote locations and holding a pistol to his head. He began doing break and enters at an early age and after a short stint in a boarding school, got into more trouble and was made a ward of the state at 13.
He was sent to a juvenile justice centre in Victoria for about 12 months. While he was there he was sexually abused by one of the officers who used to take boys to his farm for weekends. Jaysen described being restrained by other boys while the assault took place.
Sometime after Jaysen’s release from the centre in the early 1980s, he was back in another juvenile detention facility. In that place other boys tried to touch him but he fought back. He described his first three weeks there as ‘a battleground’.
When Jaysen told the superintendent what was going on, he replied: ‘This is my institution, not yours’.
Throughout his teenage years Jaysen had more admissions to institutions and experienced further bullying and physical abuse. He continued to offend because ‘that’s how I’d get my rush’.
At 17, he was incarcerated at a youth training centre and became eligible for weekend leave, but before he could go to his parents’ house he was sent to the home of an Anglican minister for supervision.
The minister was known as ‘a toucher’ and used to parade around the house naked. Jaysen told the minister ‘that’s not normal’ and disclosed that he’d been abused as a kid.
‘I shouldn’t have told him that ’cause once I told him, the next time I went there, I was asleep and I felt a hand in the bed in my groin area in the middle of the night. And ’cause I froze up, he took it as I’m giving the okay. I can’t move. I can’t say “Stop”, ’cause I can’t move.’
Another time the minister got on top of Jaysen in the bed and simulated sex. ‘He done it like he was having intercourse but he didn’t penetrate, he just done the actions, put his thing between my legs and done it that way. That was the worst, what he done. And the next day my reward was I got to have Christmas dinner with my mum, my dad and my little brother.’
A few months after this Jaysen told his mother about the minister and about the other episodes of abuse he’d experienced in institutions. ‘She was horrified. She felt that she didn't protect me, you know.’ His mother told Jaysen’s father who said, ‘No, that shit doesn’t happen’.
As an adult, Jaysen has been in and out of prison and at the time of speaking to the Royal Commission he was serving a long sentence. He’d previously been ‘a self mutilator’, cutting himself when he ‘couldn’t get rid of the pain’. He has chosen not to take his own life because of his mother.
He isn’t interested in counselling and has never reported any of the abuse. ‘What’s the use? The police were against me … I couldn’t tell them the story again.’