Allegations of Abuse in Institutions

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Index 2003 (Sept-Dec)

One News
December 9 2003

CYF to look into Sally Army abuse

A group of people at the centre of the Salvation Amy abuse scandal is welcoming a decision by a government agency to investigate their claims.

The former state wards have been asking Child, Youth and Family to intervene for months.

But its inquiry won't deal with complaints from alleged victims who were not state wards.

Eighty-four year old Jack (who's surname is not revealed) says good gardening is the one positive thing says he learned from his time in a Salvation Army children's home

Beyond that he says he learned only of people's capacity for cruelty.

"I'm good today. I haven't broken down 'cos I haven't started talking about what they did to me but if you start questioning me and bringing up my past then I get all emotional," he says.

One News first revealed four months ago the abuse Jack suffered as a state ward at a boys' home in Waikato.

He's disappointed he's not yet had an apology from the Salvation Army and hopes Child, Youth and Family's invesitgation will change that.

Child, Youth and Family says it's received 31 complaints from former state wards alleging physical and sexual abuse in Salvation Army homes.

They span 50 years from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Child, Youth and Family has appointed a team of five invesitgators.

But there are dozens more people who weren't state wards and who say they too were abused as children in Salvation Army care.

They've been asking the government to initiate an independent inquiry for months and say they're upset that Tuesday's announcement won't help them.

The Salvation Army did not even know about the Child, Youth and Family investigation until told by One News.

It is continuing its own inquiries but many victims say that's not good enough.

"These people, although they're supposed to be religious, they're pretty cunning in my eyes," says Jack

He says sons can't be blamed for their father's sins, but "the sooner the Salvation Army admits what happened in the past, the better".