Breaking the Silence: The Truth about Sexual Abuse at Daruk Boys Home
The History of Daruk Boys Home
Established in 1961 to provide housing for young boys considered by the government as ‘in need of protection’, Daruk Boys’ Home was operated in New South Wales, Australia, by the Department of Family and Community Services until its closure in 1990.
Over the 29 years of its operation, Daruk was the home to thousands of young boys who were vulnerable and considered ‘at risk’ due to being orphaned, abandoned, or removed from abusive households.
However, following The Wood Inquiry in 1990, Daruk Boys Home was closed down. Reports had emerged of widespread misconduct, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children. These reports included accusations against staff members, medical personnel, carers and older boys at the home who were at the direction of more senior staff. The inquiry found that the sexual abuse had been facilitated by a culture of violence and impunity within the facility and that the State government had failed to monitor the welfare of the boys placed there adequately.
The Wood Inquiry resulted in various recommendations for improving the protection and care of vulnerable children in the State, including a new system that was able to monitor and report sexual and physical abuse in similar care facilities more efficiently.
Personal Accounts of Abuse At Daruk Boys Home
The legacy of the abuse at Daruk Boys Home has been far-reaching, with many of the former residents of the facility suffering from long-term trauma and psychological damage.
In recent years, a number of survivors of the abuse have come forward to share their stories and seek justice, and there have been calls for the establishment of a compensation scheme for those who suffered abuse at the boys home.
One child abuse survivor, who was sent to Daruk Boys Home in the early 1980s, recalls being beaten and sexually assaulted by staff members on multiple occasions. Whilst another survivor remembers being punished for minor infractions by being locked in a small, windowless room for days on end.
Daryl Stanton, a victim of abuse at Daruk Boys home, spoke to 60 Minutes – the Australian TV Show – in 2018, detailing the incidents that took place by staff members – known by the boys as ‘squads of enforcers’, medical personnel and even older boys.
“They used to lock kids up for anywhere between two and four days at a time. We were caged children at the mercy of a major serious paedophile ring.”
But being locked up was considered a much ‘lighter’ punishment to some the boys. Other punishments, as told by Gordon Myers included a medical officer who didn’t like boys with foreskin.
“I had just turned 13. He took me into the clinic and said ‘we have permission to circumcise you’. I said ‘no you don’t. He knocked me out with a needle and I woke up in the middle of it and I screamed in pain.”
Regardless of the incident, young and vulnerable individuals who were housed at the Daruk Boys Home due to circumstances beyond their control were victims of aggressive abuse that has left harrowing impacts both psychologically and physically.
The Need for Accountability and Change
The sexual & physical abuse that occurred at Daruk Boys Home and other residential care facilities in Australia has led to a number of calls for change in structure and operations, with the safety and well-being of young people in their care being an immediate priority.
The most significant issue that has arisen is the need for transparency regarding the accountability of these residential care facilities. As the Wood Inquiry found, there must be better monitoring and reporting of abuse – including a more intense screening and interview process of staff members and more up-to-date staff training.
There have also been calls for greater involvement of children and young people in decision-making processes related to their care, as well as increased support for families to prevent children from being placed in residential care in the first place.
As of 2016, the New South Wales government announced that it would establish a commission of inquiry into historical institutional abuse, including the abuse that occurred at Daruk Boys Home. Known as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the inquiry was established in response to growing public concern about the abuse of children in institutional care. The Commission has since uncovered extensive evidence of abuse and neglect in a wide range of institutions across the country.
If you or someone you know would like to talk to one of our historical sexual abuse specialists, for free and in confidence, about your legal options, please feel free to either complete the form below with the best way and the best time to contact you, or you can call us on 02 9283 5599.