Oz kids 'sodomised, punched'

29 January 2014 - 02:37 By AFP
Child abuse. File photo
Child abuse. File photo

Children were sodomised with a garden hose, locked in outdoor cages and savagely beaten by Salvation Army majors in graphic cases of abuse detailed yesterday to an Australian inquiry.

A royal commission into child sexual abuse in Australia began hearing evidence into allegations of abuse at four Salvation Army homes for children between 1966 and 1977, that counsel assisting the inquiry, Simeon Beckett, warned would be "shocking to many".

"The abuse that is to be detailed is likely to be disturbing and at the severe end of sexual abuse," he said in his opening address.

The commission was established by former prime minister Julia Gillard in response to a series of child sex abuse scandals involving paedophile priests

Beckett said at the homes run by the Salvation Army, "boys were frequently punched by the officers with closed fists, thrown on the ground or up against a wall" or caned and whipped with straps until they bled.

"One boy had his shoulder dislocated by an officer during a punishment which involved hitting his testicles with a leather strap."

Beckett said corporal punishment and sexual abuse were frequent. One boy was punished after running away by having a "hose (inserted) into his anus" and "was placed in a cage on the verandah for a week" after complaining that another boy was abusing him.

"When he was released from the cage he was forcibly sodomised by [a] major," Beckett said.

Other boys had detergent forcibly poured down their throats, were burned with cigarettes, or were forced to eat their own vomit.