Linus's story

Linus grew up with his parents and sister in Queensland. From a young age it became apparent that he had a cognitive impairment which required full-time care, so in the mid-1970s his parents placed him in a specialised facility where he would receive appropriate medical attention. ‘I had a mental illness going back to 10 years old. I was put in [the] hospital for treatment for that mental illness.’

When Linus was 12 and still living in the facility, he was in the bathroom, where he was ‘molested by a paedophile nurse’. Linus told his father about the incident, who reported it to the hospital. ‘My father was very, very, very upset.’ The hospital pursued the matter and ultimately the perpetrator was charged and convicted. Linus told the Commissioner that his father was so upset about the abuse that ‘he actually stood up in the court room and said to the judge in front of a lot of people in no abrupt terms “If this bastard gets off [I’m] coming after him, stabbing him in between the legs”’.

Following the incident, Linus developed a fear of male nurses and couldn’t be left alone with one. He also experienced anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

‘I did toss and turn a lot but my sleeping patterns changed. ‘Cause sometimes I wouldn’t go to sleep straight away, thinking it would happen all over again …

‘After that happened I had a fear, like I wouldn’t even talk to a male nurse for quite a while … I didn’t mind talking to a female nurse but I would never, for about a month after that happened, I would never talk to a male nurse without a female nurse being present with me … It took a long while to get that trust back. They had to earn my trust back.’

Linus received a primary school education but nothing beyond that, and never received any sex education as a child. ‘I went to primary school but I never went to high school, so I never had the experiences in a normal high school … I had to learn that after I left [the hospital].’

Other than the incident in the bathroom, Linus told the Commissioner that he enjoyed his time at the facility, where he stayed until he was discharged at 23 years old. ‘I was an adult when I left.’

After leaving the hospital, Linus went to live in an assisted living facility with his best friend, who also has a disability, where they receive 24-hour support. He is very happy with his living arrangement. ‘They’re the best support service in Queensland. I’ve looked into it ... [They] treat me the same way as one big happy family. I treat the staff with the same respect I want to be treated with myself.’

Linus is now in his 50s. His parents have died but he has a good relationship with his sister and a passion for numerous social activities. He has never sought compensation for the abuse he suffered but may consider applying for it in the future. ‘Initially I didn’t want any compensation at all, ’cause I’m not doing this for money or anything like this ... I will consider it.’

Linus has never received counselling beyond disclosing the abuse to his GP after being discharged from the hospital. He doesn’t believe he needs it as he feels the support he is receiving at the moment is adequate. ‘I’ve got the support service who I’ve got here. If I ever needed anything I would definitely tell them.’

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