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Up to 256,000 people abused in state and faith-based care: NZ inquiry

WELLINGTON: Up to a quarter of a million children, young people and vulnerable adults were abused in New Zealand's faith-based and state care institutions in the past several decades, a public inquiry revealed yesterday.

An interim report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historic abuse of children in state care estimated that up to 256,000 people were abused between 1950 and 2019. This accounts for almost 40 per cent of the 655,000 people in care during that period.

"The hurt and anguish that has been caused in New Zealand's history is inexcusable," said Minister for the Public Service Chris Hipkins.

"All children in the care of the state should be safe from harm, but as the testimony sets out all too often the opposite was true."

The report said most abuse survivors were aged between five and 17, but some were as young as nine months and as old as 20. Most were abused over a five- to 10-year period.

The abuse included physical assault and sexual abuse, with staff in some psychiatric institutions forcing male patients to rape female patients.

It also included the improper use of medical procedures including electric shocks on genitals and legs, improper strip searches and vaginal examinations, and verbal abuse and racial slurs. - REUTERS

WORLD