"His grandparents had said that before the abuse he was happy and carefree, but afterwards he became a shell of the person he was."This morning two men, who were children at the time, are giving evidence about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Larkins in the early- to mid-1990s. Larkins pleaded guilty last year to two counts of aggravated indecent assault, three counts of possessing child abuse material and three counts of dishonesty offences, which concern creating a false 'working with children' check clearance and making a false statutory declaration about his contact with children. He is currently in custody. This morning a statement from one of the witnesses was read from the bar table, detailing the sexual abuse by Larkins at a scout camping trip. He said that he "felt dirty, and thought it was all his fault". He said he did not discuss it with anyone for months, and was afraid to tell his mother as he thought she would be angry with him. He later told his mother and she took him to the Newcastle police station. He now felt great relief that finally something had been done about Larkins. He said he now did not trust anyone, except for his wife, and had difficulties with relationships. His grandparents had said that before the abuse he was happy and carefree, but afterwards he became a shell of the person he was. The commission's second hearing will look into the YMCA and its former employee Jonathan Lord, followed by the North Coast Children's Home, operated by the Anglican Diocese of Grafton. The final hearing this year will hear evidence about the Catholic Church's Towards Healing process, designed to deal with victims of sexual abuse. McClellan flagged that next year's hearings will look at an orphanage, as well as one or more institutions within the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army. Set up by then-prime minister Julia Gillard on November 12 last year, the commission is intended to "inquire into how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse" in educational and religious organisations, as well as sporting groups, state institutions and youth organisations. The commissioners can investigate any private or public organisation involved with children. It is scheduled to bring down an interim report by June 30 next year. The then-Gillard government committed $434 million over four years to fund it, including $43 million for offices and hearing rooms, $20 million a year for financial assistance for witnesses, and $45 million for victim support services. The commission receives an average of 22 new callers a day, which is expected to increase now that the public hearings have started. It has already conducted private sessions in all capital cities. Some have estimated the commission could run for up to a decade. *Additional research by Crikey intern Angelo Risso
‘I thought it was my fault’: victims begin their stories at abuse royal commission
The royal commission into child sex abuse has held its first public hearing, in Sydney on Monday. Crikey was there to hear statements from victims read out.