Journalist turned politician Derryn Hinch has opened up about a traumatic childhood event in a new interview, recalling the night a family friend molested him.
Appearing as the guest on this week's episode of Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery, the 73-year-old Senator went into detail about a distressing event that took place in 1953, when he was just a nine-year-old boy growing up in his native New Zealand.
Hinch had just been gifted a commemorative silver-coated crown to mark Queen Elizabeth's coronation when his parents threw a party at their home.
"This night, this brother of one of my father's friends showed inordinate interest in my crown. He offered to buy it off me for a pound. Then [when] he'd made a connection, he came into the room my brother and I were sharing.
I'm in my pyjamas standing there, and I just froze," he told Zemiro.
"I don't recall how long it went for, but my brother started to move like he was waking up and the guy ran out of the room. I climbed back into bed, petrified."
His brother asked what had happened, but Hinch didn't respond. It was a few minutes later that he let out a cry: "I want my mummy."
He told his mother he wanted to take back the crown the man had bought:
"I didn't want this man to have my Queen Elizabeth crown."
Hinch's mother began to lecture her son about the importance of honouring your word, until his brother Des interjected to say the man had "done something to Derryn."
"Then all hell broke loose," he recalled, saying his parents angrily chased his molester out of the home.
Years later, he asked his parents why they never told the police or sought further action against the man. They told him they didn't want to cause their son further distress - but Hinch says he worried the man had likely gone on to attack more children.
Throughout his career, Hinch has passionately campaigned against paedophiles - his repeated naming of child sex offenders has landed him in prison on more than one occasion.
Perhaps surprisingly, he insists it wasn't his own real-life experience as a victim of childhood sexual assault that led him on this crusade.
"I didn't feel affected by it and it didn't do me any harm. I thought if I come out and say that, it'll almost sound encouraging to molesters. I'm not trying to hide it but it didn't affect me, and it didn't cause me to become this crusader," he said.
Rather, it was Hinch's experience as a journalist, encountering those who've had their lives ruined by childhood sexual assault, that encouraged him to seek justice.
As for those prison stints, Hinch says that "deprivation of freedom is the biggest punishment. You have to do as you're told - guards run the show."
Did prison change him?
"No. Nothing changes me."