Allegations of Abuse in Institutions

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Index 2003 (Jan-Aug)

Waikato Times
August 26 2003

Sallies abuse claims mount
by Tracey Cooper

The Salvation Army has received 26 complaints about abuse of children in its care in New Zealand since an Australian documentary last week revealed similar abuse.

Ten of those alleged cases happened at the former boys' home at Hodderville, 10km southwest of Putaruru at Waotu.

The new complaints come on top of eight the organisation was dealing with before the Australian documentary aired.

Salvation Army spokesman Alistair Herring said the complaints were "quite frankly appalling to us".

"A small number of people employed over the years have betrayed that trust," he said.

The Salvation Army was "putting all its energy" into the new complaints.

"Every person who has had a bad experience, we are taking those calls very seriously."

Each of the new complainants, bar one, had been spoken to personally and many had received visits from Salvation Army staff.

Mr Herring said not all the people wanted to make formal complaints.

"Some just wanted to talk, share their stories and feel they have been heard.

"Some are looking for an apology and formal redress and we are looking for as much detail as possible on those cases".

One of the new complainants, Hamilton man Peter Murphy, said he suffered 10 years of "isolation, neglect and abuse" at Whatman Home near Masterton

Mr Murphy is hoping other people who had similar experiences will contact him to help resolve longstanding issues and set up a support group. "I saw people physically abused and one boy sexually abused by an officer.

"The worst physical attack I suffered was being beaten on the ankles with a hammer," he said.

Mr Murphy said he saw "lots of beatings" by staff members at the home.