Two teenagers have saved themselves and their siblings from what is being called a “House of Horrors” in New South Wales.
14 children, including the two older teens, were removed from their suburban Sydney home due to allegations of child abuse, torture, and confinement.
The children, ranging from a few months old to 19 years of age, were allegedly fed ‘pet-quality’ meat, whipped, beaten, and confined to the house. It is also alleged that the children were often kept away from their school and not allowed to use phones or computers, read books, or go on the internet.
Only the two oldest children were allowed to leave the house to go to prayers while the youngest child went to a nearby park sometimes.
How the parents got caught
According to media sources, the two older teenage sisters secretly recorded their parents abusing them and sent a message to their school asking for help.
It is unknown which school the children attended or were meant to attend, or, if they ever actually went to school.
After receiving the message, the school contacted the police for a welfare check. Police discovered the 14 siblings in a malnourished state. Police also allege the children were fighting for rations of toilet paper and their ‘skinny bodies’ were hidden by soiled and ill-fitting clothes.
Their parents are now charged with a string of offences and are not allowed to see their children.
‘Make me parade the dead cats around’
The mother, who converted to Islam as an adult, allegedly reports that she would tell her husband when their children misbehaved and he would then beat them when he arrived home for the day.
In one shocking claim, one of the daughters explains how her father bought a pet cat to torture as a punishment when she misbehaved.
It was something that really got to me. I loved cats so he would beat them, then make me parade the dead cats around,” she said.
In addition to physical abuse, the children were also allegedly emotionally abused. One of the older daughters explains how her parents locked her up after she asked too many questions.
Another younger sister shared that on one occasion she cooked and baked all day for 10 men who came over to her house but her father was still upset with her because there was dust on the cupboard.
The teen said she tried her best to make her dad happy so that she could ‘stop the bad stuff’.
Researched what is legally allowed
The oldest two siblings were responsible for the younger ones and would be assigned children to watch throughout the day as well as chores and religious studies.
They decided they needed to get help when they noticed their youngest brother struggling mentally and were afraid the alleged abuse would cause irreversible mental health damage or lead to suicide.
The sisters used their iPads in secret to research what is legally acceptable for parents to do as well as what was considered child abuse and assault. They then took photos of the alleged abuse, particularly of their younger siblings allegedly being whipped. Then they sent it to the school asking for help.
When the police arrived at their door, the eldest sister recalls feeling scared but having a ‘good feeling’.
One of the girls said giving a statement to the police was the ‘best part’ because it gave her the freedom to tell the truth in a safe environment.
Giving a statement to the police was probably the best part of it … I know it sounds strange saying you know doing statements for police was like a fun thing. But it was,’ she said.
14 children remain together
Detectives have worked hard to ensure the 14 siblings remained together and have taught the older teen the basics in grocery shopping, money and doing basic errands.
It’s such an unusual case so there’s definitely some bumps along the way,” the lead officer said. ‘The girls know what they have taken on is a massive responsibility but they were up for the challenge if it meant keeping their family together.”
It’s been a few months since the police intervened and the children are now all enroled in proper schooling and have all the necessary things for their education. The oldest two siblings take care of the household and their siblings.
We would love to see them get some respite, maybe a nanny to help them while they study and focus on their own goals and dreams”‘ the officers said. “They don’t complain though, they are the most amazing young ladies and we would do anything to support them.”
The parents of the siblings are before the courts. They do not have contact with their children.