Dulcie May Holmes’s story of Salvation Army horror

The Australian

JUNE 30, 2014

Dan Box
Crime Reporter

SEVENTY years ago, when she was just a teenage girl, the Salvation Army used to keep Dulcie May Holmes locked inside a cage.

Every time she ran away, Dulcie would be subjected to forced internal examinations by staff working at the church-run Industrial School for Girls in Toowong, Brisbane.

“Until now I just kept it to myself,” the 86-year-old said. “I never told anyone. I was too ashamed in the beginning … I just couldn’t get it out.”

Earlier this year, officers from the child abuse royal commission visited Dulcie’s rural home in Glenwood, Queensland, and asked her to describe what happened. Other graphic stories of abuse at boys’ homes run by the church emerged at two public commission hearings in January and March this year. “I’m pleased somebody knows about it now. We’ve suffered enough anyway, deep down,” Dulcie said.

Today, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will deliver its first interim report, 18 months after it first came into being.

After 14 public hearings, more than 1700 private meetings with victims, and allegations of child abuse at more than 1000 institutions, the report is expected to make the case for an extension of its current 2015 deadline.

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