27 Jul 2021

Abuse in care: 'I still have lots of nightmares about it'

7:09 am on 27 July 2021

A man who suffered a catastrophic brain injury as a child in 1974 has outlined abuse at various schools and residential care facilities while growing up.

Antony Dalton-Wilson.

Antony Dalton-Wilson. Photo: RNZ

Antony Dalton-Wilson, who is 54, has given evidence to the Royal Commission into Abuse and Care's Pacific inquiry being held in South Auckland.

In 1974 he was crushed by a truck and suffered serious head and body injuries.

He went to Mount Roskill Primary School for a trial in a class in what was called the physically handicapped class.

When he was about 10 years old, he went to Ward 12 at Auckland Hospital.

''The nurses gave me more medication than I was on when I went in. I did not like it. They were drugging me up.''

''I was sometimes locked in a time-out room for nothing, even if I did not do anything wrong. It was a room that had no beds or blankets, and it was freezing cold. I would have to go there

if the staff in Ward 12 thought I was being annoying or naughty.''

He would sometimes go to Māngere Hospital in the holidays.

''It was like shit. I am not sure why I had to go there. I was only told that Māngere Hospital is just for people with disabilities but not as bad as mine.''

''I hated Māngere Hospital. I was treated really badly there. When I first went there, they put me straight in time-out and told me to wait. They put me in there for far too long. I was yelling for somebody to get me out. I did not have any food or drink. I was so angry, but I tried not to let my anger out. The staff did not come and get me out until night time.''

"I really did not want to be there. I do not understand why I had to go straight into time-out when I had only just got there. I had not done anything wrong.''

The staff at Māngere Hospital would call him handicapped.

''I asked them not to call me handicapped but they did it anyway. I know I am handicapped, but I don't like that word. I don't like being called a handicapped. It undermines me.''

Over the next few years he was in and out of other residential homes.

He said he was verbally and physically abused, locked in time-out rooms and bullied.

Dalton-Wilson said some staff and other students were mean to him, calling him names and laughing at him.

He said telling his story to the inquiry has been a hard process because he has tried to put it out of his mind over the years.

''For a long time, I did not talk about the abuse but that was because I thought that I would get in trouble. I decided to talk about it because this piece of writing is going to the government in the hope it will never happen again."

''I try not to think about what happened to me when I was in care, but I still have lots of nightmares about it.''

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