7 Nov 2019

Woman recalls years of ill-treatment in state care

2:21 pm on 7 November 2019

A woman who spent many years in care and in a psychiatric hospital has outlined years of abuse and humiliation to the Royal Commission into abuse in state and faith-based care.

The commission is holding a public hearing in Auckland.

Beverley Wardle-Jackson went into care from the age of seven. Her brothers and sisters were also put into care.

She spent the next 14 years in and out of foster care and homes run by Child Welfare, and one owned by the Salvation Army.

Ms Wardle-Jackson was unable to attend the hearing today and her evidence was read to the Commission by lawyer Sonja Cooper.

In her evidence, Ms Wardle-Jackson said she was exposed to neglect and sexual and physical abuse for most of her time as a state ward.

She then became a patient at Porirua Psychiatric Hospital, where she says she was regularly beaten by staff and other patients and given electric shock treatment as punishment.

She spoke of being held at one stage in a ward for the criminally insane where she was held in a cell-like room and heard frightening sounds which she described as an orchestra of moaning, wailing and screaming.

Ms Wardle-Jackson described being forcibly held down by five nurses while another one gave her an injection.

She said she constantly had a feeling of being trapped and powerless.

Ms Wardle-Jackson said she was one of many people caught up in a system that was meant to protect, but ultimately only caused damage.

She published a book of her experience in care called, In the Hands of Strangers.

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