Mum used, abused and kicked out of country
A BRISBANE mother who gave evidence to the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about her time in a series of notorious government homes is about to be deported to a country she hasn't seen since she was nine.
Tracey Glasgow, 39, has not seen New Zealand since she was young, and will leave behind three children when she is deported on character grounds, having spent much of her adult life in and out of prison for drug abuse and traffic offences.
But lawyers and child abuse advocates are fighting for Ms Glasgow to stay, arguing she suffered horrific abuse in state institutions, leading to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, and is now being sent away by authorities who failed her.
Compensation lawyer Julie Wyatt, solicitor director at Wyatts Lawyers, who represents abuse survivors across the country, said Ms Glasgow suffered "horrific abuse" as a ward of the state and would not survive in New Zealand.
"The whole situation is diabolical," she said.
"The ramifications of what she went through (as a child) were catastrophic.
"In our experience with her, and what we hear from her family, the chances of her staying alive once she hits New Zealand are slim.
"She has made repeated attempts on her life."
Ms Glasgow was made a ward of the state at age 11.
She stayed in foster homes but was also sent to live in Tufnell Home in Nundah, an Anglican-run children's home mentioned by multiple witnesses at the Forde inquiry (the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions).
In her statement to the royal commission, Ms Glasgow said she had been subject to repeated sexual abuse by a priest during her six months at Tufnell, aged 11 and 12.
After Tufnell, Ms Glasgow was sent to live with a foster family, who reported she was showing signs of having been abused.
Nothing was done and throughout her adolescence, Ms Glasgow began using drugs and was sent for various stints at Sir Leslie Wilson Youth Detention Centre.
"There she was abused by two men who she has named and are known to some of my other clients," Ms Wyatt said.
The Forde inquiry found that "Wilson" was a facility of neglect and suffering where children were at risk of "physical and sexual abuse".
Ms Glasgow has done various stints in adult prisons for crimes including driving while disqualified and drug abuse related offences.
She completed a recent term of imprisonment on July 5, when she was taken from the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre and sent to the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre where she is now being held.
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Ms Glasgow told The Sunday Mail she was terrified of being sent so far from her youngest child, who is autistic and turned 10 while she was at the immigration centre.
"I don't want to go. I have a young child here. I just want to be here for him," she said.
She said she has the support of her mother in Australia and did not believe she would survive alone in New Zealand.
She said if she was given another chance, she would dedicate every moment to caring for her child.
"I'd be staying at home with my son. I would take every opportunity I could to spend time with him. I just want to be a mum to him. I just want to be there. He's such a good kid," she said.
"I'm not just wrecking my life, I'm wrecking my children's lives.
"I have a lot of guilt around that.
"I have a lot of guilt around the whole situation really.
"I know I was a kid and they tell me it's not my fault.
"And what happened to me was not my fault. But it doesn't stop it."
Ms Glasgow spoke to a representative from the royal commission in 2017 while in prison.
She said female prisoners were invited to come forward and detail abuse they'd suffered in government institutions.
She initially kept silent, not wanting to talk about memories she'd long buried.
Records show Ms Glasgow gave a detailed 30-minute oral statement to the commission.
"I thought no, I'm staying out of it," she said.
"But then, when he was alone, I walked up to him and said, `I think I need to talk to you'.
"And so, then we were by ourselves and we spoke and he referred me off to have an interview and I did that too.
"It took a lot of guts for me to even talk to that man. It brought back a fair bit of memories that I'd kept down."
Your Justice Consulting managing director, Linda Kirby, who advocates for survivors of historical child sexual abuse, is also fighting for Ms Glasgow to remain in Australia.
"I just want to speak up for Tracey because nobody else has. I also want justice for other victims of child abuse at Tufnell children's home," she said.
A Department of Home Affairs spokesman said a person could have their visa cancelled or refused if they were considered to "not be of good character", adding that the "safety of the Australian public is a primary consideration".
"The department is aware of this case, however cannot comment due to privacy," he said.
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