State abuse survivor's story sparks emotional response from The AM Show host

  • 01/02/2018

This story contains details of sexual abuse that may upset some people

An abuse survivor and author has described his harrowing experience in state care, where he was sexually and physically abused.

Daryl Brougham's story moved The AM Show host Mark Richardson to tears, who said he would struggle to read Mr Brougham's book Through the Eyes of a Foster Child.

Mr Brougham spent 18 years in foster care and institutions, beginning when he was just three months old.

"I went to America and was locked in a room for three years, came back to New Zealand and was pretty much skin and bone. Then I went from home to home to home."

He said he only had two placements where he did not experience abuse.

"I was abused heavily. In America in the locked up room I had to perform sexual acts on the caregivers as well as to another foster child who was with me. I would have been two-and-a-half years old."

Mr Brougham received a Government apology acknowledging that it should not have sent him to the US.

His caregivers looking after him at the time applied to take him to the US, even though they had been under investigation for abuse.

"A lot of it's survival... your mind is racing, you're looking at each home and analysing it quickly to see where you fit in, to make sure you survive. But you also know that you're not going to be there for long at all."

He left state care at 18 and joined the navy, has worked in management roles and as a social worker. 

"I've spent 6000 days in care, that's 130,000 hours of lived experience. People say to you after you leave state care 'go live a normal life'. How do you do that?" he asked.

Mr Brougham wants to see the Government launch a Royal Commission of Inquiry and would like the police to be involved, and for those who committed abuse to be prosecuted.

He also wants churches to be included in the inquiry, which is due to be announced on Thursday morning as the last step of the Government's 100 day plan.

Mr Brougham worked as a social worker for Child Youth and Family, but says he was told if he published his book he could no longer work there. So he left.

The AM Show sportsreader Mark Richardson had an emotional response to the story.

"I know what's in here and I don't want to read it. As a parent, it'd be too confronting for me to read what's gone on here. But I have to don't I?" Richardson said.