Feeling unsafe in her home, isolated her from her family, isolated from friends


During the trial the court heard from Velas about years of violent and sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather.

While he was only convicted on the three charges, Judge Stan Thorburn acknowledged Velas’ claim that there was more abuse in her life.

Court documents provided to the Herald reveal that Velas accused Bourduk of offending dating back to when she was 5 years old, before he married her mother.

“Miss Velas wants the court to be aware the offending was not isolated, but was in
fact representative of a persistent pattern of sexual grooming, physical and sexually
abusive behaviour that he subjected her to for many years,” a reparation report presented to Judge Thorburn said.

“Miss Velas asserted that the offending began shortly after her mother met the offender when she was about 5 years of age, escalating in frequency, severity and deviance until a friend supported her to disclose the offending when she was about 17 years of age.

“She stated that she understood the reason he was not charged with any earlier alleged offending was because it occurred outside of the New Zealand criminal justice jurisdiction.

“In terms of the offending, Miss Velas said that she anticipated that something would
happen to her every day. Either the offender would commit an indecency on her or
she would be threatened, induced or compelled to commit an indecency on him.

“Miss Velas said she never welcomed the offender’s attention, but complied with his
demands because she feared that either she, her mother and later her younger
brother would be harmed if she refused.

“Miss Velas gave examples of some of the ways in which the offending impacted on her including leaving her feeling unsafe in her home, isolated her from her family, isolated from friends, poor self-esteem, self-loathing, unable to engage in education and pro-social employment, unable to develop positive and enduring relationships, substance abuse and self-harming behaviours.

“She said the offending had touched every aspect of her life, leaving her mentally, emotionally and spiritually damaged.

“As part of her current rehabilitation, Miss Velas is working to support other victims of childhood sexual abuse to identify and increase awareness of abusive behaviours and its many manifestations.”