The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry has delivered its Lake Alice Case Study report, Beautiful Children, to the Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro.

Beautiful Children makes findings about the systemic abuse and neglect of tamariki and rangatahi at the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit in the 1970s and why it happened. It also reveals the failures of those responsible for the care of these children and many government agencies to properly investigate what happened.

The Royal Commission is grateful to survivors, their whānau and their advocates who have generously shared their experiences to inform the report.

“The Royal Commission is indebted to the survivors who have contributed to this investigation.  Reliving the trauma of abuse takes incredible courage. Most tell us they do so because they do not want the horrors of the past repeated today,” said Commission Chair Coral Shaw.

“I want to acknowledge the decades long fight for justice by survivors and advocates.  For the first time they have been properly heard and their accounts investigated. This case study is the first comprehensive report to record their accounts and reveal the full extent of the abuse and injustice they have suffered and continue to suffer. It is the hope of the Commission that their fight has not been in vain,” she said. 

The report is called Beautiful Children from the lyrics of the song Sensitive to a Smile by Aotearoa reggae band Herbs. Former band member Carl Perkins was one of the tamariki sent to Lake Alice. He credits music for saving his life when he was young. We use the lyrics from Sensitive to a Smile in the pages of the case study to honour Carl and all other tamariki and rangatahi sent to Lake Alice.

The Inquiries Act 2013 sets out that the next step is for the appropriate minister (Minister of Internal Affairs) to present the report to the House of Representatives as soon as practicable and following that it will be made public.

About the Inquiry    

The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is investigating the abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults within State and faith-based institutions in Aotearoa New Zealand between 1950-1999. We can also learn from the experiences of survivors who have been in care after 1999. The Royal Commission will deliver its final report in June 2023.  [Updated - the final report is now due 28 March 2024]


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