Brooke

I told everyone she was overseas

I was 13 years old and living with my Nan when mum and dad went to jail; I had been there for a few weeks. Before I moved mum and told me that they had been getting in trouble with the police and would have to go to jail. I said okay, well, not really okay. Dad's been to jail heaps …

At first it was okay at Nan's. Before I went to live with her I used to go there every weekend. We would do things like go swimming with her and some of her friends and their grandkids, and go to the bingo. It changed when I was there all the time though; she got much stricter. And sometimes when I would ask to go and visit mum she would say no – I didn't take it to heart though.

I only told some of my close friends that mum and dad were in jail, but not many. Most people, I just told them she was overseas. Mum reckons this was a clever thing to do. I learnt from before what happens if you tell friends – they tell their parents, and then their parents won't let them hang out with you.

I think Nan told the teachers – but none of them talked to me about it. Mum or dad didn't tell anyone. I just used to talk to my cousin and listen to music when I felt sad.

Like Brooke, do you need some help to visit your mum or dad?

  • In Victoria, Prison Network Ministries can help with transport. To find out more:
    Call Laurel Gore (03) 9873 4190
  • Go to the VACRO websiteVACRO has a Family Travel Assistance program – this can provide V/line rail tickets for country travel. To be able to get this assistance, you will need to be on your parent's visitors list.
  • VACRO also has an Aboriginal Family Travel program. If you want to find out more, contact VACRO: call (03) 9605 1900, freecall 1800 049 871 or go to vacro.org.au

Or do you just need someone to talk to?

  • The SKY Program at VACRO has a counselling service and a volunteer mentoring program. To find out more about SKY, call (03) 9605 1900, freecall 1800 049 871 or go their website vacro.org.au.
  • KidsHelplineYou could also talk to your school counsellor. They may know about your mum or dad, but be waiting for you to come and talk to them.
  • KidsHelpline is a telephone service for kids to talk about any things that are bothering them. Their phone line is open 24 hours a day. Freecall 1800 55 1800. On the website you can also chat to someone in real time, or just talk about stuff on email. kidshelp.com.au