The Family

Special Guest: Ben Shenton

Ben Shenton is the author of Rescuing the Family who has told his story throughout Asia Pacific and been interviewed by radio and print media from Australia and places as far away as Chile.

‘Rescuing the Family’ was birthed from a thirty-year journey Ben’s life has taken since being rescued at 15 by the police on August 14 1987 from Australia’s most notorious cult, The Family. Its followers believed the leader's claim that she was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Ben grew up believing Anne Hamilton-Byrne was his mother.

Through ‘Rescuing the Family’ Ben seeks to share lessons he’s learnt on how to overcome trauma from his childhood experiences and successfully build a family by navigating through the dangerous ideologies and widely espoused methods on bringing up children that negatively impact families and therefore societies.


September 20th, 2017

47 mins 56 secs

Season 1



There is a 95-year-old woman in a Melbourne nursing home who dotes on a plastic baby doll. You wouldn’t guess it to look at her, but this is a woman who amassed a multi-million dollar fortune, destroyed families, and affected the lives of numerous people giving them ongoing psychological issues, some of which ended in suicide.

Former police detective Lex de Man said of this women to 60 Minutes, “Of all the crimes that I investigated, she is the most evil person that I’ve ever met.”

CW: references to physical and emotional abuse, controlling behaviours, death by suicide, forced adoption, and psychological trauma associated with being in a cult. Please consider whether you would like to listen on this basis. Content is not suitable for children.

If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via, and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at