A Royal Commission investigation into the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit indicates a far higher number of patients were admitted than previously thought.

The Abuse in Care Inquiry is investigating what happened at the Manawatu-based Unit, following the findings of past, more limited, inquiries that children and adolescents experienced serious abuse there.

It appears that at least 300 former patients were admitted to the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit, which operated from 1972 until it was closed in 1978.

Investigation Counsel Assist Lead Andrew Molloy said previously around 200 people were known to have been in the Unit.

“To date, our investigation suggests that this number is likely to be about 50 per cent higher than previously believed,” he said.

Molloy said this is among a raft of “new and valuable information” his team has obtained through interviews with former patients, psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers and social workers, many of whom have never been interviewed before. 

The Ministry of Health responded to survivors’ evidence given at the Redress hearing in late 2020, telling Commissioners it had not been able to compile a list of all the children that went through the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit.

Molloy says the Investigation team still wants to hear from more former patients, as well as their families, and former staff members and their families, about their experiences ahead of the public hearing commencing on June 14, 2021.

If you are a former Lake Alice patient, whanau, a former staff member, or if you have information to share, we want to hear from you. Call 0800 222 727 now or email contact@abuseincare.org.nz

Media enquiries: 027 298 2094; media@abuseincare.org.nz

About the Abuse in Care Inquiry

The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is investigating the abuse and neglect that happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care from 1950 and 1999. It will also consider experiences of abuse or neglect before 1950 and after 1999. After completing its investigations, it will make recommendations to the Governor General on how New Zealand can better care for children, young people and vulnerable adults.