Blake and his sister Janine were raised in Sydney by a single mum who had to work fulltime to support them. In the early 1980s, seven-year-old Blake started misbehaving. His mum didn’t know how to handle him and sought advice from the welfare department.
Janine, who came to the Royal Commission with Blake, explained what happened next.
‘Mum, in seeking assistance as a single parent, was told that if she made Blake a ward of the state she would get the assistance that she required. Mum didn’t quite understand what that meant, and next thing you know Blake was ripped away from our family home.’
Blake spent the rest of his childhood in residential care where he was physically and sexually abused many times by many different perpetrators. He was nine at the time of the first incident. He was raped by some older boys and an adult staff member at a state-run boys’ home. Blake’s understanding is that they were ‘teaching me a lesson’.
At 10 he was moved to a home run by the Red Cross. This home had a toy room out the back where boys could go on a Friday if they’d behaved themselves during the week. ‘I never got to go there of course’, Blake said, ‘because I was an arsehole. So for me to go into that toy room I had to let them molest me’.
‘Them’ in this case were three male staff members. They abused Blake every few days for the next three months or so until Blake was moved on again, this time to a Presbyterian boys’ home. He hated it there and tried to escape by stealing a motorcycle. The manager of the place caught him and dragged him back.
‘About a week later he took me down where the hayshed was and said “Do you want to learn how to ride a motorbike?” And I said “Yeah, that’d be great”. And he said “Oh, you’ve gotta do something for me”. And that’s when it started. That was anal and oral performed on him and he performed it on me.’
Blake also spent some time in two Boystown boys’ homes, one where he experienced brutal physical abuse but no sexual abuse, and one where he was sexually assaulted by the dormitory master, Brother Luke.
‘I was misbehaving there as well and that was my punishment. He raped me anally. With other boys in the room at the same time. That happened twice. I ran away and wouldn’t go back there.’
Blake left care for good when he was about 16 and a half. At 17 he was sent to an adult jail for property crimes that he committed to support his drug habit. Since then Blake has spent more time in jail than out.
His last stint was a year ago. These days he’s still using drugs but hasn’t reoffended and feels confident that he won’t.
‘What I’ve done to people over the years, I don’t feel proud about it. I just don’t want to do it again anymore … I just don’t want to go back to jail. I’ve had enough.’