Allegations of Abuse in Institutions

Salvation Army Homes - Main Index

Index 2003 (Jan-Aug)

One News
August 27 2003

Govt may examine abuse claims

The Salvation Army abuse scandal could be about to ensnare the government, as claims of abuse suffered by children at homes run by the organisation keep coming.

There have been revelations some were put in Salvation Army homes as wards of the state, meaning the government may have to investigate.

ONE News has also learned the abuse could go back further than first thought.

The Salvation Army is investigating 36 abuse complaints in its childrens' homes dating back to the end of the World War II - but the complaints now go back even further.

"Jack", was in Hodderville Boys' Home between 1925 and 1933 as a ward of the state.

He says he believes the government should have taken some responsibility at the time and still has a duty to do so.

"I think they should have been finding out what was happening to their wards, what was going on."

It is estimated as many as 8000 children lived in Salvation Army homes over the years.

Some had the state as their legal guardian - Child Youth and Family is now reviewing its files to see how many were involved.

The minister in charge, Ruth Dyson, says "It's not appropriate to comment until specific approaches are made from people who were state wards alleging abuse. We would then take every such case seriously and consider it on its merits."

Jan Lowe was at the Celia Whatman home which was established in 1921 and says the abuse there was horrific.

She recalls: "On one occasion being slapped so hard that my neck wouldn't straighten up, excruciatingly sore."

Lowe tried to take legal action against the Salvation Army two years ago but received a letter from its lawyers denying abuse.

The Salvation Army says it is now back in discussions with her.

"Jack" says he will also be in touch with the Salvation Army to discuss his unhappy childhood at a home where numbers replaced names.

"My number was 14. Here I am at nearly 84 and I can still remember my number."