Kane Aaron's story

Kane was made a ward of the state in Victoria in the mid-1970s, when he was two years old. He and some of his siblings were placed in care (he thinks his mother could not cope with the large number of children in the family).

Although Kane’s siblings were returned home, he remained in boys’ homes and foster placements. He has never found out why he was the only one left in care.

When he reconnected with his father in the early 2010s, ‘there’s a lot of things he wouldn’t tell me. Like I used to ask him about when I was young, what happened to me, how come I was left in the home and all that, and he wouldn’t answer me’. His parents have since died, ‘so I can’t get any answers’.

Kane lived in seven different boys’ homes overall. When he was 11, the Melbourne government-run home he was in was ‘like a living hell. Just used to get bashed all the time. Sexual abuse … happened there. Yeah, just no good’.

The worker who watched over the boys at night began to sexually abuse Kane. ‘He’d come and get me out of me bed, take me into the office and like, he had a room of his own made up so he could sleep if he wanted to and [he’d] take us in there and yeah, masturbate in front of me, make me masturbate him and all sorts of stuff.’ He also attempted to rape Kane.

Kane lived at this home on and off for four years, and the abuse continued the whole time he was there. ‘He’d tell me he’d bash me if I told anyone else or stuff like that, like he’d get to me.’ He also told Kane that he would put him in isolation, ‘in the slot’ if he told. ‘I was scared of him.’

There were rumours among the boys about the worker, ‘but I didn’t believe them until it happened to me. When it happened to me, I believed it’.

There was another staff member who ‘used to give us dirty magazines … and then he’d try and catch us masturbating by looking through the small window … We brought it forward to the senior, and the senior put it to him, and he walked off the job’.

Kane had several unsuccessful foster placements. In one, the son of his foster parents used to come home ‘pissed or something and try and hop into bed with me and like, he’d fondle me, all sorts … I think I was about 12, 13’.

Since his time in care, Kane has spent most of his life in jail. The longest period he has spent out of custody in one stretch has been eight months. ‘A lot of them have been driving offences, but when I was younger, I used to nick off from [the boys’ homes] and pinch cars, then later on I got introduced to heroin, started using heroin, and yeah, just running amok.’

The abuse Kane experienced in care affected him ‘pretty bad. I can’t have a relationship outside. I don’t trust anyone. Always looking over me shoulder. I just … I don’t know. It’s weird. I can’t, I just don’t trust anyone. I don’t trust anyone at all. I find it hard to talk to people. Yeah … that’s it’.

Kane only started talking about the abuse when he ran into a fellow inmate who had been at the boys’ home with him. ‘It just come up about [the worker] and we started talking about it. I found out that he’d been assaulted too. So yeah, we just … I think that was about 2008.’

In 2010 Kane received a small compensation payment from the Victorian Government, but it ‘didn’t change anything. It’s not going to change anything either. I dunno. I was able to have a Christmas with me kids with the money, so I was pretty happy about that.’

Kane is having ongoing counselling in jail, which he finds beneficial, and he has been completing a high intensity violence program, but he has no support on the outside to help break his pattern of offending when he is released.

He told the Commissioner that ‘they should watch who they employ in homes. Check ‘em out more, so things like this don’t happen again’.

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