A London man is sharing his story of being assaulted during his time at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre and says safety needs to be improved at the facility.

Robert Broley was an inmate at EMDC nine years ago, when an assault left him with permanent disabilities.

The stigma of stepping forward as a former drug addict and prisoner prevented him from showing his face, but now he says someone must be the voice and face of victims at EMDC.

“I'll never forget the cries for help, and nobody was there to respond.”

Broley was serving a brief term for fraud at an ATM when he was hit in the face with a plastic mug reinforced with wet toilet paper and swung inside a sock.

“The crack, it's like getting hit in the head with a cue ball,” he says.

Doctors have diagnosed him with a traumatic brain injury resulting in problems with memory, planning and behaviour.

His lawyer Kevin Egan has reinvigorated a lawsuit first filed in 2006 against the Ministry of Safety and Correctional Services and hopes to go to trial next year.

“We're talking about a 10 year history of this repeating over and over again and the ministry has sat idly by and watched it happen…We've now written to the Crown asking that they consent to the matter being put back on the trial list.”

Broley says as much as his lawsuit is about getting compensation for his lifelong injuries, it’s also to raise awareness about the need to improve safety inside the detention centre.

Last Thursday Adam Harvey Kargus of Sarnia was killed while serving a short jail sentence at EMDC, and Broley says news of the death dredged up memories of his own sense of helplessness during an assault.

“Nobody was there to help. And I put myself in his shoes and he’s screaming for help, thank God that mine wasn't fatal but my heart went out to him and his family.”

Egan says it takes courage for Broley to speak publicly, “There are so many guys out there who are afraid to put their name forward.”

But Broley says simply “It has to stop now. How many people have to die, how many people have to go through disability?”