Lindsey Graham's story

Lindsey’s home life in Queensland in the 1980s was ‘a bit unstable. Sometimes she’d leave us with people for … sometimes months on end … like neighbours and stuff like that’. He told the Commissioner that he was placed into foster care for about six months when he was 12. ‘I think it was probably because Mum just couldn’t handle it at the time … I think she was just struggling a bit.’

Although he returned home for a short while, Lindsey was made a ward of the state when he was 14, and sent to a boys’ home run by the De La Salle Brothers. ‘Initially, I didn’t mind it. It seemed like, you know, you’re always busy, the schooling and stuff wasn’t too strenuous. It was … other young guys there … the actual setup I thought wasn’t too bad. Initially, that’s what I thought.’

One day, Lindsey came back from weekend leave with a Sony Discman in his bag and one of the Brothers accused him of having stolen it. ‘[He] said that it was stolen or whatever, that I’d been a naughty boy and you know, pulled my pants down and smacked me with this, like a strap sort of thing.’

About four months later, Lindsey came back from another weekend leave, ‘and the same Brother was there, and another young kid was with me and … he made me and him, you know, like touch each other and then do like oral sex and stuff … and then probably two or three months later … that same Brother … had sex with me’.

Lindsey told the Commissioner that there was another Brother who, ‘just made me like touch him … There was no … It wasn’t like the other guy … Because of what happened earlier, I just kind of thought that that’s what he wanted as well, but it didn’t go there.’

After Lindsey left the boys’ home, he went to live with his mother, but she wanted to move the family further north and Lindsey decided to stay where he was. He spent his late teens and early 20s, ‘pretty much just using drugs, just hanging around guys using drugs, and just living that lifestyle’. He has been in jail ‘a few times. I’ve been in jail pretty much for the last 11 years’. All of Lindsey’s crimes have been related to drugs.

Lindsey never really thought about the impact his abuse has had on his life.

‘I think it may have taken a bit of my spark away, you know … At the time, I was in the running for dux at [the boys’ home] and that kind of slipped away … I think it just took a bit of … my spirit away, you know.’

The first time Lindsey told anyone about the abuse he experienced at the boys’ home was ‘when I rang you guys. That was the first time I’ve ever … because I came here to [jail] and there was another guy that had just gone through it so … he sort of said to me, “Yeah, man, you’ve got to do something about it”, so yeah, that’s the first time I’ve ever even mentioned to anyone’.

Lindsey told the Commissioner, ‘those incidents, I kind of just … I’d forgotten all about them. I hadn’t … they don’t even come up in my mind … I never even really thought about how they affected me because I just got on with my life. It was just something that happened, so … I never sought treatment for that because it didn’t really affect me’.

Lindsey only began to realise the impact of his abuse after he spoke to a lawyer recently. ‘For the next couple of days after that, going back into it and all that, it kind of … it was a bit tough … just remembering it all and like actually thinking about things, like, “Well, I could have done different things”, you know.

‘Probably when I got out of there I probably would have been acting differently … Maybe I probably would have stayed with my mum … just little things like that. I think things would probably have turned out a bit differently, you know. But I don’t … At the end of the day, it is what it is, you know.’

Lindsey is looking forward to being released from jail and is determined to stay off drugs and not re-offend. ‘Not one more second. Once I get out of here, that’s it. Not one more second … I know what I can achieve, and I think that you know, I want to try and stay away from the drugs, but sometimes it’s hard.’

Lindsey told the Commissioner, ‘I think I will chase up some support in regards to this, because since I’ve been thinking about it a bit more, I think that this has affected … the ways you think about yourself and stuff like that, that if I hadn’t talked about it, I wouldn’t have become aware, that other people don’t think like that, that it hasn’t happened to, you know’.

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