Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Helen's Bravery Pays off; Father Jailed for Years of Sexual Abuse of Daughter

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Helen's Bravery Pays off; Father Jailed for Years of Sexual Abuse of Daughter

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Zemek

HELEN Wells was sitting in a Melbourne doctor's surgery waiting room. She glanced at a picture hanging on the wall and recoiled in horror.

The painting depicted her as a young girl in a flowing white summer dress, frolicking in the water at an idyllic beach - Noosa in the 1980s. It had been many years since she had seen the picture.

The painting speaks of innocence lost and harks back to a simpler time.

What it doesn't convey is that the person who painted the picture, Helen's father, sexually assaulted her as far back as she can remember.

The Daily can reveal today that in 2008, Robert George Wells, a well-known artist in the Sunshine Coast and Gympie area, was convicted of multiple sex offences relating to the abuse of his daughter.

He was released into the community last week after serving six years in jail.

Helen has decided to speak out about her years of abuse.

She wants to tell her fellow victims it's all right to come forward and that there are those willing to guide them through the process.

Innocence lost

Today Helen, 34, lives in Melbourne and is a successful artist in her own right.

She was born in Brisbane but moved to the Coast area when she was young.

Her family lived in Kandanga, Noosa, Tewantin and Cooroy.

She says she can remember being sexually assaulted by her father as young as three but there is no way to tell if the abuse started before then.

The abuse was consistent throughout her life and ended when she was 24 when she moved out of home.

She kept the abuse a secret her entire life, as she was ordered to by her father.

She came to report the abuse when she confided in her then-partner in 2004. With his support she contacted child protection advocate Bravehearts and police, sparking a long and painstaking investigation.

Helen is full of praise for the Queensland Police who went through her accusations in meticulous detail.

Wells was charged with offences including indecent treatment of a child and incest. In 2008, he was sentenced to 11 years in jail with parole after six.

"I went to Bravehearts as a first point of call," Helen told The Daily from Melbourne. …

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