A GIRL raped by her father for 27 years says Victorian officials protected him and held her partially responsible for the abuse, an inquiry has heard.
The girl told social workers she was being raped but the abuse continued and she had four children to her father and suffering two miscarriages, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.
“She is expected to give evidence that she felt the department protected her father and his feelings, and held her partially responsible for the rapes,” counsel assisting the commission Dr Peggy Dwyer said on Monday.
Dr Dwyer said children were sexually abused by staff members, social workers and other child residents of three Victorian state-run youth centres: Turana, Winlaton and Baltara.
The girl raped by her father, known only as BGD, was 15 when she was placed at Winlaton, where staff members gave her regular contraceptive injections.
Dr Dwyer said Winlaton allowed her to stay with her mother for weekend visits, giving her father access to her.
A social worker and Children’s Court Clinic staff member wrote to the man stating: “None of us want to make you feel bad, but we do want (BGD) to feel better about her relationship with you.”
Dr Dwyer said some survivors frequently ran away from the institutions to escape the abuse.
“Some survivors will say that they disclosed the abuse to the police, but they were not believed and, in some instances, they were physically abused by the police,” Dr Dwyer said.
“Some survivors will say that when they absconded from the institution and were picked up by the police, the police never asked why they were running away, but simply placed them back at the institution.”
Norman Latham, who was made a ward of the state at age 15 in 1962, will tell the public hearing he was sexually abused 19 times by two senior officers at Turana.
Mr Latham ran away to escape the abuse and reported it to police, who took him back to the facility and told one of the officers, Eric Horne, what the youth had said, the commission heard.
“Mr Latham is expected to say that later that night, Mr Horne said to him ‘I told you not to say anything’ and raped him in the infirmary at Turana,” Dr Dwyer said.
Dr Dwyer said most survivors would tell the commission they did not disclose the abuse to anyone at the institutions.
“They are expected to give reasons such as feelings of guilt, punishment, fear of being labelled a ‘lagger’ or ‘dobber’, and a belief that they would be disbelieved,” Dr Dwyer said.
Some survivors who did tell authorities were not believed, were punished or the response did not protect them from the abuser, she said.
Dr Dwyer said children were forced to strip when initially placed at an institution or on their return from weekend leave or absconding, and were forced to undergo intrusive medical exams. She said witnesses would tell of a lack of supervision by staff members, facilitating abuse by other residents.