Lloyd Peter's story

‘I was found in the park as a baby … underneath the tree and Mum and Dad was over the pub over the road … the tree stands to this day … I was a ward of the state and placed in the care of the government, thrown from home to home, hostel to hostel, foster families to foster families.’

In one of those foster families, Lloyd was sexually abused.

‘I kept running away from there and then I was classed as an “uncontrollable” … Any opportunity I got I would take off from that home … Police would pick me up, family services would be involved and they’d take me back.’

Lloyd was diagnosed as hyperactive and given daily doses of Ritalin from the age of nine. ‘I got put on the little yellow tablet and I fell asleep all through class … I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t do anything.’

In 1988, when Lloyd was in his early teens, he was placed with an Aboriginal foster family in regional Queensland. The foster family already had eight children in their care.

‘At the start [they were good]. Now that I’m older [I realise] … they had a persona … “We’re the good guys, you listen to us [and] we’ll give you this as long as you tag along and follow our rules”. That’s where the [real] abuse started, physical and sexual abuse.’

His foster father soon began to sexually abuse him.

‘At a certain time, there’d be no one around and that’s when stuff would go down, for a half hour, an hour, and then go through the day, night, week as [if] nothing happened.

‘[He] told me, “Well, I’m a figure in the community”. He knows a lot of honcho people. I’d get in trouble if I told someone … To get away from that I used to run away again. But then always the family services would be involved and he’d come pick [me] up from wherever I ran off to.’

His wife, the foster mother, ‘had no clue’.

‘When she come home, she was the man, the woman of the house.’

Lloyd was finally successful in running away from his abuser and lived on the streets.

‘When things got rough on the streets, I’d play up to get locked up … [in a] home.’

The abuse Lloyd experienced as a child caused him to feel ashamed and to have sleeping difficulties. He experiences traumatic flashbacks and memories but ‘I just deal with it as I’ve done that throughout my life’. He also finds there are many triggers for him in popular culture, in TV and films, and he ‘can’t cope’.

Lloyd is aware that drinking alcohol is likely to lead to significant trouble for him.

‘I’ve tried to make a life for myself [outside] but there will always be something, I don’t know what it would be, something triggers me to drink … Once I seen blue [the police] … I’ll be getting in trouble.’

When Lloyd is out of jail he lives with relatives. He does not have a relationship and has no children.

In prison, Lloyd has been able to connect with his Aboriginal culture and is well liked.

‘Whoever’s down, I’ve got a tendency to make them smile, doesn’t matter if they’re the hardest criminal or doing life or what not, I’ll make them smile.’

He has also taken up painting.

‘I’m an artist so I’ve put a lot of my history in my art … I think the feelings go into my art.’

Even though Lloyd knows his abuser may still be supervising children, he had not considered reporting him to the police ‘until [knowmore legal service] come into the prison’. Knowmore is also going to help him access his welfare records.

Lloyd doesn’t want to spend the next half of his life as he has spent the first half.

‘There’s a lot of things I missed out on, growing up. One of the main things was a proper education. What I’ve learnt through life has been like from prison, getting to see it on the TV, reading the paper, getting other stories from people.

‘I don’t wish this on anyone. It’s the hardest.’

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