‘I believe the people that kept putting us back into that situation should be dealt with accordingly. They don’t deserve to be in the position of power that they’ve got if they gonna keep putting kids’ lives in danger.’
Milo came to the attention of the Department of Community Services (DOCS) in the mid-1980s while still a toddler living with his mother and siblings in Sydney’s west. ‘Mum was a bad junkie’, Milo told the Commissioner. Milo’s father had left and Milo and his siblings suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their mother’s male friends.
DOCS workers intervened and at first placed the children into a facility run by the Salvation Army. Milo’s brother Stephen is three years older; Milo believes he was already sexualised by the abuse they had suffered. While in the children’s home Stephen began sexually abusing Milo.
These assaults by his brother continued for nearly 20 years.
‘I can’t completely blame Stephen for what’s happened, because he was only doing what he thought was right. I’m not excusing him either, but at the same time I can’t completely blame him, because we kept being put back in that predicament. So, the way we were being brought up it was all right to do shit like that.’
Milo and his brother were returned to their mother at times, and also went to live with their natural father. Stephen continued his sexual abuse of Milo wherever they lived together. By the time he was a teenager Milo had been made a ward of the state. Throughout his teens he was placed in many youth programs and in different youth care facilities. He was often placed with his brother, Stephen.
Milo recalls beginning to complain about Stephen’s abuse when he was about 10 years old. ‘I told Mum and Dad about it, I told my stepmother about it … I told DOCS on numerous occasions.’ DOCS workers told him they would act. ‘We’ll follow it up, we’ll follow it up.’ But they never did, to Milo’s knowledge.
‘They just kept putting us back into that situation. DOCS knew that we were getting abused. They knew we were being physically, emotionally and sexually abused and they still kept putting us back into that predicament.’
Milo’s life ran off the rails as he grew older. ‘I was a very angry young boy. I didn’t care. I took it out on everyone. Even now I’m having problems having relationships.’ He fell into crime: ‘Stolen cars, assaults, drug-related offences, because I turned to the drugs to suppress what had happened, just all sorts of shit.’ Milo tried working, but found he couldn’t earn enough to support his drug habit.
Crime led to prison, where Milo has spent much of his adult life. Milo admits that drugs are freely available in prison and that he has continued to use. However he says he wants to embark on a drug rehabilitation program when he is released. A counsellor told Milo, ‘You’re a very smart boy, you’re a very smart man. You’ve just been at the wrong place at the wrong times’.
Milo believes he is ready to change his life. ‘This is it for me. I’ve been doing this shit for 15 years. I’m over it now.’
He hasn’t seen his brother Stephen for a decade. Stephen had continued to initiate sex with Milo whenever they were together, even into their early 20s. Milo finally made a statement to local police about the abuse, but believes his own arrest over outstanding warrants caused the matter to be shelved. He has recently tried to locate that statement and push for his brother to be charged, but police have told him they cannot find any records from the time.
Milo believes he understands how his brother came to be an abuser, but he remains deeply hurt and angry to this day. He is unforgiving.
‘He’s a piece of shit. If I ever catch him in the street, I’ll dead set break every bone in his body.’