‘Why do we want our stories told? Because apologies are simply words which fade away and are forgotten. For us, sexual abuse will never be forgotten. We will live it our whole life. We don’t want the next generations to suffer lifelong issues as we have. We have suffered financially, medically and mentally. This has also impacted our family and friends. It makes it extremely difficult to have trust in anyone or anything. The Royal Commission was a great relief as we were able to tell our stories, but it will be soon swept under the carpet. By continuing to tell our stories, we will keep it in the spotlight. The outcome of the Royal Commission is hopefully to protect all future children where they’re not placed in the situations where they can be sexually abused, be it out-of-care homes or government-run homes. We are all underprivileged people because of our upbringing. We had no proper schooling, we had no dental treatment, we had nothing. It is a major concern now as we’re getting older to be placed into aged care and being abused again. We hate institutions, and we don’t want to be abused in aged care facilities.

-ALBY LEFFERS

ADELAIDE SA, 2017

 

Alby was 4 years old when his parents rushed him to hospital, as he had accidentally drunk kerosene. They were deemed unfit parents and Alby was placed in the Seaford orphanage. His parents were immigrants from Holland, and living in a migrant hostel, with little English, but fought on his behalf and he was returned to them when he was six. In the orphanage, he was deemed uncontrollable and given experimental drugs to control his behaviour. The side-effects of the ongoing drug treatment and the abuse he endured, resulted in him being placed in Windana reform school when he was 11 years old.  As a Ward of the State, he was transferred from institution to intuition and was sexually, physically and emotionally abused until he was 18. At 13 Alby had developed a heroin addiction and entered the criminal justice system at 19. Alby engaged in 30 detox programs to manage his addictions which he used as a way to mask the horrors of the abuse he experienced. With the love and support of his beautiful Aboriginal wife and her non-judgemental, caring and non-materialistic nature, Alby was finally able to abstain from his substance abuse and enjoy his life as a husband and father. At 55 when he told 50% of his story to the Mullighan Inquiry. When reading his own files, he developed Post Traumatic Street Disorder (PTSD) and was determined to advocate for the support of survivors of child abuse. Alby gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse revealing 90% of his lived-experience.

The two panels on the left and right side one in front of the other to, when the lines are aligned, form the central image. The lines themselves are a barcode that when read say “Alby”, which is his name. Alby was always be known as a number, never a person and never a vulnerable child.

Alby is a client of Elm Place at Relationships Australia South Australia. Elm Place supports people who were in out-of-home care when they were children.  

We also provide other services for those seeking support, some of which are;  the Post Care Support Service for people who were in out of home care in South Australia, Redress Support Service for people applying for the National Redress Scheme (for those who experienced institutional childhood sexual abuse), and the Find and Connect Support Service is for Forgotten Australians, Care Leavers and Former Child Migrants. 

The term ‘Forgotten Australian’ refers to people who spent time in out-of-home care prior to 1989. This can include orphanages, foster care, children’s homes and other institutions. It is estimated that there are more than 500,000 Forgotten Australians throughout the country. 

Many of these children suffered from all forms of abuse and neglect while in care.  Survivors are still impacted by the effects of abuse and this trauma can continue throughout adult life. Families, partners and children also feel the impact of this trauma, which then carries through to future generations. 

Find and Connect provides a range of support services including counselling, case work, searching for records and family reconnection, where possible.  

Find out more about Find and Connect and services by visiting elmplace.org.au or calling 1800 161 109