Child sex abuse survivor tells court impact of decade-long torment

A MAN has been sentenced for the "vile" sexual abuse of his niece from the time she was five.

Charges included maintaining a sexual relationship with a child, unlawful carnal knowledge and indecent treatment of a child under 16.

Defence barrister Phillip Hardcastle said the 56-year-old man was a father of five and in a 20 -year relationship which ended due to the court case.

He had a good work history until a heart attack forced him onto to a disability support pension.

Judge David Reid told the man the offending was vile and it was "most unusual" that he was only found guilty of six of the 25 offences he was charged with.

The man was given a head sentence of nine years in jail.

No parole eligibility date was set.

Meanwhile, his niece, now an adult and mother, wrote a powerful victim impact statement to the court.

You can read it below:

"Being taken from my parents at a very young age and being placed in the foster care system was a very scary experience at first but we were welcomed into lovely foster care families and also a kindergarten and we were happy.

"Afterwards we were placed into the care of our grandparents where we thought we would have a safe and happy childhood. This is not how it unfolded.

"Keeping quiet is sometimes easier but I knew the truth had to be told. I had suffered through the abuse by my uncle for so many years, so much fear pain and hurt which I have held inside for this long.

"My childhood was very different from what I imagined it would be. Fun memories childhood dreams taken from me from this one family member who I thought would protect me.

"My brother, sister and I moved in with Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle in Victoria. At first I recall being so confused afraid and fearful when Uncle called me into the shed. I was only five or six years old when the abuse started.

"Not only did I have to do things for him, disgusting things like put his penis in my mouth and work around the house, he also used to punch us, hit us and swear abusively. I also remember a big thick black belt he would hit us with if I did not listen to him. There is so much physical, emotional and sexual abuse I cannot tell you how much pain and fear he has caused over the years.

"When we moved to our new house in Jandowae in Queensland the abuse continued week after week. His room was next to Grandma and Grandpa's but he continually took me into his room and abused me night after night. He would tie my hands to bed or behind my back or hand over my mouth or forcibly hold me down if I tried to fight him off.

"No one stopped him, no one helped at all.

"The most scary moments were being left alone at home with him. He could do whatever he wanted to do to me. He had always said 'it's between us don't tell anyone'.

"I was kid always too scared as I didn't understand any of it or what was happening to me. "As the years went by I feared more and more of what Uncle would say and do or if he would come into our room.

"When I went to school, I felt my life was different to the other kids. I felt I could never fit in. I had trouble making friends and no one to turn to. I still have trouble mixing with other people. The fear of anyone knowing what happened is unbearable. The guilt and shame I had to bare even now knowing I wasn't to blame doesn't help.

"He took my innocence and destroyed my childhood, also my teen years. He took a lot from me. The impacts of sexual assault on me have be devastating, profound and far-reaching. It has impacted every area of my life and every part of myself. I have no self-confidence or pride in myself and I never really feel safe. I have trouble trusting anyone, always with a fear of getting hurt because I thought my abuse would never end. I also hate anyone getting drunk around me because people can get nasty as I remember a few times Uncle loved to drink and then would sexually abuse me and I could smell the alcohol.

"My life was taken over by him at a very young age. I had to put up with all his sick sexual desires for 11 or 12 years as no one would listen or believe me as my grandmother told me on occasions that I was just a liar and smacked me in the face.

"I have had counselling to help me with the issues I have. I have suffered with anorexia which I have had for many years but like now when stressed I lose control and my emotions take over. I have had council to try overcome the different fears, feelings and emotions, wishing I could have a normal life. When working with a counsellor she has also noted it is evident I have no self confidence and was always putting myself down. I now deal with anxiety and depression which I believe has resulted from this.

"I would have never spoken about my childhood except he attempted to touch my eldest daughter. The feeling of being sick to stomach when my mind wanders to what might of happened to my daughter and what did happen to me.

"He has taken from me so much, so very much and while the losses cut to the very core of who I am nothing can ever be undone because of what Uncle has done to my brother, sister and I.

"Since meeting my husband, we have both built our lives around each other and our children. "I have given him all the faith and trust I have to give even though it was so hard for me to do so. Even to this day my trust is hard to give in some circumstances. Our relationship is strong and I am positive he understands what I have been through. Even though I have made a life for myself and tried to move on from this I will always have the bad memories from my childhood because of the sexual, emotional and physical abuse. I know I have to live with all the hurt and pain every day of my life but somehow, we have to learn to move on."

*Names of those involved have been redacted.

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