Push for Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in New Zealand

LIFETIME OF PAIN: Childhood sexual abuse survivor Grant West wants a sexual abuse inquiry in his homeland of New Zealand. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

LIFETIME OF PAIN: Childhood sexual abuse survivor Grant West wants a sexual abuse inquiry in his homeland of New Zealand. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

When Grant West was eight he was placed in juvenile detention after he was caught by police attempting to burn down a Presbyterian Church. 

It would be the first of many desperate attempts Mr West would make to end a cycle of horrific sexual abuse inflicted on him from the age of four. 

Mr West told The Courier he was the victim of intrafamilial sexual abuse before he was raped by a church minister at the age of six.

He become a ward of the state until the age eight and were abused up until the age 16.

He spoke of systematic beatings, sadistic sexual abuse and culture of fear at the boys home which was run by the former Department of Social Welfare from the 1960s through to the 1980s.

“I was shoved into a cell and beaten to a pulp,” Mr West said.

“The first night I was made to stand naked in the shower while they turned a high pressure fire hose on me. It wasn’t long after that the night-watchmen started sexually abusing me.” 

Mr West, has lived in Ballarat for more than a decade.

He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has made multiple attempts to end his life. 

While one of his perpetrators is in jail in New Zealand, others have died without ever being prosecuted. 

Mr West has made it his mission to protect future generations of children and get justice for scores of child sexual abuse victims in New Zealand. 

He is calling for the New Zealand federal government to roll-out an independent royal commission mirroring Australia’s child sex abuse inquiry.

He plans on travelling around New Zealand to get more than 200,000 signatures for petition which will be lodged in parliament.

It will be a harrowing journey for Mr West who plans on meeting with sexual abuse survivors at every town he travels to.

Mr West said he was told by the New Zealand government only signatures of New Zealand citizens would be accepted. 

“The pain never leaves you,” he said. “Survivors of institutional abuse New Zealand need to have a voice and somewhere they can tell their story.” 

Mr West has started a gofundme page to raise money for his Silence No More NZ campaign.

He said a royal commission was necessary because it could implement changes and hold institutions accountable.  

“It has to be a royal commission because it has to be independent of the government,” Mr West said.  

“This isn’t just for the future New Zealand children it’s also for children who were hurt in the past. For the ones who aren’t here any more... who don’t have a voice. We have to face our past to change our future.

He hopes to raise $25,000 for the trek which will be used to fund the campaign while the rest of funds will be used to help survivors travel from all over Australia and the world to get back to New Zealand if a sex abuse inquiry is set up.

 To donate to his campaign, visit: gofundme.com/kcw8v3rg.

CASA: 5320 3933 or free call 24 hours 1800 806 292. Lifeline: 13 11 14.