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There have now been a series of reports detailing the abuse of New Zealanders while in the care of the state.
All make for unsettling reading, and together reveal that, at least in the past, individuals in state care were often exposed, unsafe, vulnerable and suffered harm. Places that were meant to be havens of safety were settings for oppression.
The numbers covered are considerable. Between 1950 and 1980, more than 100,000 children and vulnerable adults were placed in state institutions, including special schools, foster homes and psychiatric hospitals.
The latest report, Institutions are places of abuse, is distressing because its subjects are intellectually disabled, a group largely invisible from the other narratives. It covers the experiences of 17 New Zealanders and details unacceptable – and possibly unlawful – physical, psychological, sexual and financial mistreatment.