‘He won’t sit in the classroom, he just runs out. He doesn’t want to be [there] … All he wants to do is fish.’
Jensen came to the Royal Commission to talk about his son, Elijah.
He said Elijah has a very creative mind and one day, in the mid-2010s, went to school saying Jensen had attacked someone with a gun. This was overheard by a teacher who reported the comment to police. Jensen believed Elijah had made the comment to make himself look tough in front of his friends.
That afternoon, when he went to pick up Elijah and his siblings and cousin, Jensen found them in the school’s office with several policemen and social workers. Elijah had made a police statement, which launched an investigation.
Jensen’s children were removed from his care while he was investigated by the police. He had no say in where they went but he’d been accustomed to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services helping him out from time to time because his ex-partner, and the mother of his children, was recovering from drug dependency.
Elijah was seven years old, and his siblings younger, at the time they were sent to live with the Davis family. They stayed there for one week. After the matter against Jensen was dropped, he was allowed to pick up his children, and in the car, overheard them talking to each other about what the Davis’s 15-year-old son, Preston, and a masked man had done to them.
Jensen felt his heartrate drop, and he could hardly breathe. He stopped the car, turned it around and drove straight back to the department. Jensen told the boys to tell the social worker what happened while they were in the Davis home.
‘They told Child Safety that Elijah got punched and there was a [man] touching him on his balls. He kept rubbing Benny [Elijah’s brother] and he didn’t like that at all.’
The department investigated the matter and called Mr Davis and Preston in for questioning. Jensen also called the police, and Elijah and the boys made statements. Preston admitted to physically and sexually abusing Elijah and was charged with ‘indecent acts on a minor’, and sent to a juvenile justice facility.
Jensen was happy with the outcome but was disappointed that Mr Davis wasn’t properly investigated. He thinks that because Preston admitted his crime, both the department and the police didn’t want to lengthen the investigation further. Jensen was also upset that hardly any attention was given to his children, who weren’t offered any counselling.
In 2015, Jensen enrolled his children in a support group. He said they had responded well and looked forward to attending their sessions. However, that soon changed when Elijah, who was then nine years old, started acting aggressively towards his siblings. He also started playing up in school.
‘He had really good marks, he never took a day off school. Then he started getting suspensions for 20 days, which I thought must’ve been pretty heavy.’
Elijah has intense nightmares and continues to act aggressively towards his siblings and Jensen. He refuses to go to school and runs to the local lake to fish. Jensen’s other children have also acted in a similar way to Elijah but they aren’t as aggressive. Jensen believes they will calm down when Elijah does.
‘It’s like monkey see, monkey do. He’s the boss and they follow.’
Jensen has now enrolled Elijah in a different school and is relieved that staff there are working with him and Elijah, offering half-day attendance and counselling on site. He is delighted to see the improvement in his son. He has also placed his children in a wellbeing centre and this has helped the whole family.
Jensen has lost sleep over what happened. He finds comfort in drinking alcohol and is currently working on how to manage this. He tried to report Mr Davis again to the department and has asked whether he still takes in foster children. However, he feels the department don’t want anything to do with him.