National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

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NAASCA Highlights
- Feature Article -
EDITOR'S NOTE: Here are a few recent stories and feature articles from a variety of sources that are related to the kinds of issues we cover on our web site. They'll represent a small percentage of the information available to us, the public, as we fight to provide meaningful recovery services and help for those who've suffered child abuse. We'll add to and update this page regularly, bringing you just a few of the featured articles on the web site.
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Darryl Smith
  Sexual abuse survivor Darryl Smith to share his story at the Vatican

by Adele Redmond

A survivor of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church will share his story at the Vatican.

Dunedin man Darryl Smith will meet with Catholic bishops, and potentially Pope Francis, during a global summit on clergy sexual abuse in Rome in February.

Smith claims he was first abused as a 6-year-old at Christchurch's Marylands School, a Catholic institution for children with learning difficulties, in 1971.

"The Pope has stated publicly that he wants the bishops to meet the survivors," Smith said on Saturday.

"The trick is to talk about the other survivors of Marylands and get some help with them too."

Smith was paid $30,000 in 2009 as reparation for abuse he suffered at the hands of members of the Order of St John of God in Christchurch and Queensland, Australia.

But he said he wants "proper justice"  an acknowledgement from the highest levels of the Catholic Church, and accountability for those who knew of the abuse.

"At the end of the day, they can't hide behind closed doors anymore."

Smith claims he was abused by a brother at the school. He was woken from his sleep one night and called to a St John of God brother's office. He was told one of the men responsible for his care wanted to speak about his grandmother. Instead, the man raped him.

The abuse continued over the course of a year and came from other members of the order and older students, Smith said. He eventually told his parents what happened.

Smith does not remember the name of the man who first assaulted him, but remembers being assaulted again eight years later. 

His family moved to Australia in 1978 and Smith, who began getting in trouble with the law, was soon placed in the care of the church again.

In 1979, brother John Joseph "Bede" Donnellan raped him at the Granada Hostel in the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove.

Donnellan died before he could be charged with the abuse, but the Catholic Church's Professional Standards Office eventually found that "on the balance of probabilities" Donnellan did sexually assault Smith.

Smith became an angry and confused teenager, who continued breaking the law through the 1980s and much of his adult life.

He eventually served time in prison on charges of burglary, fraud and theft  events that are chronicled in his self-published memoir,  A Shattered Life.

Smith was one of nearly 4500 people who reported being abused by Catholic institutions during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia, which ended in December 2017.

He said he wants the church's professional standards committee, which investigates claims of sexual abuse, to include at least one survivor.

"Without that, they're just monitoring themselves."

Smith plans to raise the issue at the summit, which more than 100 senior Catholic bishops are expected to attend.

Believed to be the first of its kind, the summit will focus on the protection of minors.

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