29 Sep 2020

Abuse in care: Sister speaks for man who spent 44 years at Kimberley Centre

7:04 pm on 29 September 2020

Warning: This story discusses details of physical abuse.

Paul Beale spent more than 40 years of his life as a patient in care. The treatment he received has been outlined to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission on Inquiry.

Paul Beale spent more than 40 years in care.

Paul Beale spent more than 40 years in care. Photo: Supplied

Beale, who is 69, was first admitted as a patient at the Kimberley Centre, near Levin at the age of 10 and spent 44 years there.

He functions at a very basic intellectual level.

Beale has no awareness of physical danger and can not make decisions for himself.

His sister, Gay Rowe, is his guardian and gave evidence on his behalf to the commission.

She said her brother started out as an unmarked young boy to one who came home for holidays with many scars.

''It was just awful because we don't know how he got them, we don't know whether fights with other young people in the ward with him or whether it was something that was done in restraining him for some reason.''

Rowe said her brother was given drugs that made him like a zombie.

She describes his anti-psychotic medications as horrendous.

''And he was taking eight at breakfast time, six at lunch time and eight at dinner time...when I saw this cocktail of drugs, and that was just one of many he was taking.''

She recalled visiting her brother one day at the centre and seeing another young man sitting bound by his wrists and ankles to an armchair and the attendants telling her it was to stop him running away.

''It was one those things that I thought, dear God if they are doing that to him, are they doing that to my brother? And how many other people here are they doing that do?"

After Kimberley was closed down, Beale was moved to a residential home called Parklands.

Gay Rowe.

Gay Rowe. Photo: RNZ

He spent seven years there.

Rowe said Paul received a number of unexplained injuries after being regularly assaulted by other residents.

She later found out that the Ministry of Health had concerns about Parklands but still sent her brother there.

An audit report had been carried out by the Ministry of Health.

She said she did not know about and had not seen an audit report and, if she had, Paul would not have been sent there.

''He absolutely would not have gone there,'' she said.

Rowe took a claim against the Ministry of Health for Paul's treatment at Parklands.

After a long drawn-out process she settled on Paul's behalf in 2017.

''It's just that Paul has no understanding and if I was not here to speak up for him nothing would have happened and for having spent so much time in Kimberley and then seven years at Parklands, he's owed the world basically from the way he's been treated.''

She felt throughout the claim process that the Ministry of Health was stalling hoping she would go away.

''My brother is only one of hundreds, possibly thousands throughout this country who have been on the receiving end of abuse by those who have been charged with their care.

Rowe thought a first apology letter from the ministry Paul received was not worth the paper it was written on and a second one was only slightly better.

Rowe has instructed her lawyer to take a claim against the Ministry of Health for Paul's treatment at Kimberley.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7) or text 4202

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (3pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 helpline (12pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-11pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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