Years of abuse in children’s ‘haven’
PAUL Tamkin says he is still haunted by the physical, emotional and sexual abuse he endured as a young boy while living in a Brisbane children's "haven''.
The father-of-five says he constantly relives memories of being sexually touched, seeing a pet horse shot and burnt, being beaten at night and hit with a cane, when he was six or seven.
Mr Tamkin is now suing Silky Oaks Children's Haven at Manly and the State over the psychological damage he allegedly suffered as a result of being sexually abused.
District Court documents allege a Silky Oaks staff member, now dead, sexually abused Mr Tamkin multiple times.
But the 53-year-old cannot make a claim about any physical or psychological abuse because Queensland limitation laws still apply for all but childhood sex abuse damages claims.
Mr Tamkin says it is unfair, because the physical and emotional abuse have been as damaging to him as the sexual abuse.
"It was just shocking. It was full-on in there. There's not a time I don't think about it,'' Mr Tamkin said of his year as a ward of the State at Silky Oaks in 1970-71.
"That place has haunted me all my life.''
Mr Tamkin remembers watching a pet horse the kids called "Donny'' being shot and burnt in front of them.
"Everyone loved that horse. It was the only thing that brought us joy,'' Mr Tamkin said.
He said once, when he and other children were being bathed after being sunburnt, a Silky Oaks staff member poured liquid he later realised was kerosene, all over their bodies.
"All the kids were screaming and crying,'' Mr Tamkin said.
When he threw a hated tapioca pudding out a window, he was made to scoop it up and eat it - leaves, twigs, dirt and all, he said.
A notice of claim says Mr Tamkin was hit with a cane and woken during the night and beaten.
"My life has been a misery,'' he says, recalling the years he used drugs to dull the pain and suffered anxiety and depression he relates to his Silky Oaks experience.
Fiona Leddy of Shine Lawyers said NSW and Victoria allow serious childhood physical abuse claims without time limit.
She said details of the physical and emotional abuse had been included in Mr Tamkin's notice of claim, in the hope that Queensland would change the statute of limitations.
"The Queensland Government is considering this issue," a spokeswoman for Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said.
Silky Oaks Children's Haven and the State are yet to file a response.