Woman’s horror bucket list
KAYE'S daughter was just a child when she was abused by her uncle, but she only reported it to police 42 years after the disturbing crime.
She grew up battling with the horror - and couldn't even bring herself to tell her own mother until she was 19. Kaye desperately wanted to go to the police, but her daughter did nothing until she fell terminally ill years later. Reporting the sexual abuse then became her daughter's dying wish.
Kaye, who did not reveal her last name, tells of her daughter's fight for justice in a new podcast by Victoria Police, Unspeakable, which encourages victims of sexual offences to report them.
When Kaye's daughter was 19 she returned from an overseas trip and made the dreaded call to her mother about what happened to her as a child.
"She'd been overseas and she came back and she rang me one night, it was a Saturday night, and told me about it. She said 'Oh mum, you're not going to like what I've got to tell you'," Kaye revealed in the podcast.
"As soon as she said it I believed her and I said 'what do you want to do about it' and she said 'I don't want to do anything at the moment, I want you to know about it, I don't want to do anything about it'.
"She said she didn't want granny to know, that's my mum."
After her daughter told her of the nightmare she suffered at the hands of her uncle, Kaye tried to report the crime herself.
"I got on the phone and rang the Boronia Police and they said to me 'look, there's nothing we can do'," she said.
"In those days there really was no support from anybody, nowhere to go, I've never felt so alone in my whole life and I went through a marriage breakup. This was just awful. I didn't know where to go or who to turn to."
Without her daughter wanting to report the crime herself, Kaye's hands were tied.
"It was very heavy on the shoulders I can tell you. At times I didn't know what to do. Because she didn't want to do anything about it, I couldn't do anything about it," she said.
Decades later, Kaye's daughter was diagnosed with a terminal illness and had just weeks to live.
It was at that point she wrote a bucket list and on the top of it was reporting her uncle for the sexual abuse. She told police 42 years after she became a victim.
Detective Leading Senior Constable Christine Robinson was working in the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team unit when Kaye and her daughter rang to report the abuse.
"I was on response that day and allocated the task. I called the victim and I arranged to, within the next hour, to attend her address," she said.
She set up a video camera at the home and filmed Kaye's daughter as she detailed the horror.
"She gave me some indication of her illness, that she didn't have much time left. Her reporting this was on her bucket list. It had affected her for the last 42 years of her life and she needed to report it before she passed away," Detective Robinson said.
She launched an investigation right away and typed up the statement.
Shortly after, Kaye's daughter was admitted to hospital and another Detective Leading Senior Constable, Amber Coutts, took her statement and the video camera to the hospital so the daughter could read her statement in case she died before the case got to trial.
"Her doing that was such a relief. She felt that finally it was a weight off her shoulders. She told her story, put it in someone else's hands to investigate and from that point it moved very fast," Detective Robinson said.
Kaye told Unspeakable it felt as if their heads were spinning, as Detective Robinson arrested a man in the western suburbs within one or two days of it being reported.
"I arrested the offender and interviewed him, quite a lengthy interview, and obtained admissions from him about what had happened. I charged him that day and summoned him to court within a week, which is a very short time frame - we normally give ourselves a month or two," she said.
Police got a victim impact statement from Kaye's daughter before she died and she passed away before she got to see her abuser punished for what he'd done.
He ended up pleading guilty in court but due to the age of the offence, old legislation was used. He received a suspended sentence of five months in prison and was placed on the sex offenders registry.
"She would've been blown away. She was hoping for a good result. She said 'It's fine mum, I can die now knowing he's going on the sex offenders list'. I was pretty confident we would but she was sure we'd get the outcome we did," Kaye said.
Survivors of sexual abuse take an average of 22 years to admit what happened to them, and even longer to finally report it to police.
Last year there were almost 13,000 sexual offences reported in Victoria, about 4000 more than 2010.
Police believe it is because more people are confident in coming forward.
Anybody wanting to report sexual abuse should phone their local police station.
If you or anybody you know is a victim of sexual abuse phone sexual abuse crisis line 1800 RESPECT.