This investigation will examine abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults in State psychiatric care in New Zealand. Psychiatric care includes psychiatric hospitals and other facilities, forensic psychiatric services, community psychiatric and rehabilitation services, including residential and non-residential care, as well as voluntary and non-voluntary care.

The Inquiry will investigate abuse that occurred from 1950 to 1999, and has the discretion to also consider issues and experiences of abuse before and after that period, up to the present day. 

The investigation will gather information about the circumstances of people being taken into psychiatric care, the nature and extent of abuse, why it happened, and the impacts of abuse. It will investigate whether there are any systemic, structural or other factors which contributed to the abuse occurring or which affected the State’s response to abuse. 

The scope of investigation into abuse in psychiatric care can be read here.


Case studies

During the investigation the Inquiry will identify particular psychiatric institutions and care providers, issues or themes to examine in case studies. Case studies may include public hearings, roundtables, hui and fono. The first case study in the Psychiatric Care investigation will examine abuse at the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit, and a public hearing on this Unit will be held in 2021.

Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit

The Inquiry will investigate what occurred at the Child and Adolescent Unit at Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital in the 1970s.

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Providing information to the investigation

We want to give a voice to all victims and survivors of abuse in psychiatric care. Victims and survivors, their families and whānau, as well as anyone who witnessed any form of abuse in psychiatric care, all have important information that will help the Inquiry investigate and make findings about what happened. Sharing your experience means the Inquiry can make recommendations for change that are necessary to prevent and respond to abuse in psychiatric care. 

We acknowledge that sharing experiences of abuse will be difficult, but it is important for these stories and accounts to be told and brought into the light. Please click here to access the Inquiry’s wellbeing information and contact page if you need support at any time.

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