News

"Everyone was abused," says NC Children's Home survivor

The North Coast Children's Home.
The North Coast Children's Home. The Northern Star Archives

AS MORE revelations come out of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, one man is asking: "What about other forms of abuse?"

GG (the man did not want to identify himself) was a resident at the North Coast Children's Home in Lismore from 1959-1970.

Since 2008 he has been fighting the Anglican Church over the abuse he suffered that left him suicidal and unable to function in society.

"I'm not playing down the sexual assaults, but everyone was abused and it's not how you got to the result, it's what the end result was," GG said.

Kids were bloody terrified ... there was no maternal instinct at all ... all you heard in that place was kids bawling and screaming

During his 12 years at the home GG was exposed to countless beatings, intimidation, psychological abuse and public humiliation by staff.

He said children were fearful all the time.

"They used to walk around with this horse whip," he said.

"They would sneak around and the next minute they're coming up behind you ... and for the slightest misdemeanour they would beat you.

"Kids were bloody terrified ... there was no maternal instinct at all ... all you heard in that place was kids bawling and screaming."

He described how, after wetting the bed, he was forced to put a nappy on and parade in front of kids who were made to laugh at him.

"There are so many mental illness things that go on because of what went on there.

After leaving the home, GG applied to join an Army apprenticeship scheme.

But the Army psychiatrist said they didn't have "time or the money" to treat him.

"That was the best opportunity I could have had in my life ... but because of how I was treated in the home I was kicked out and that's why I reckon they (the Church) owe me (compensation)."

A psychiatrist's report prepared in 2008 describes a range of conditions that can be attributed to his time in the home.

... they'll stand up and say how wonderful they are when they just walked up and spat in our faces again

But because GG's abuse was not of a sexual nature (although this did occur to others at the North Coast Children's Home) he said he and others are being ignored and their claims for compensation downgraded.

Recently the Anglican Church offered just $3000.

At the same time there were reports of others offered up to $75,000.

"It's just an insult and just causes more resentment and frustration," he said.

"This is just taking one group so they can stand up in front of the Royal Commission and say 'We've done all this. We've paid up to $75,000' ... they'll stand up and say how wonderful they are when they just walked up and spat in our faces again.

"The main issue of how the kids were affected is being missed."

  • CLAN is a support group for people who grew up in orphanages and children's homes. You can find the group's website here or phone them on 1800 008 774.

Topics:  anglican church north coast children's home



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