Royal Commission Lake Alice report

Internal Affairs Public Service

The Abuse in Care Royal Commission’s case study Inquiry into the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit has been presented to Parliament, Minister for the Public Service Chris Hipkins and Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti said today.

“The report catalogues the horrific experiences of children and young people who were patients at the unit during its short existence in the 1970s. They were subject to terrible abuse and neglect,” Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti said.

“The report describes a litany of failings by State agencies. The patients suffered mistreatment by staff, and there were poor oversight and referral procedures. Further, a series of investigations into abuse at the unit have delivered unsatisfactory results for Lake Alice survivors.”

Following the most recent Police investigation into Lake Alice – the fourth such investigation since 1977 – charges have been laid against a former staff member. His trial is expected to take place in 2023.

“To avoid prejudicing the right to a fair trial, a small amount of information has been withheld from the report, in line with legal advice received by Ministers. Following the trial, the report will be released in full.

“During the Royal Commission hearings, the Ministry of Health acknowledged there was systemic failure in the care of patients at the unit. The abuse was completely unjustified, both by today’s standards and the standards of the time. It is a shameful episode in the history of care in New Zealand,” Tinetti said.

The report contains no recommendations, as the Royal Commission’s recommendations will now be included in its final report, due in June 2023.

“The Government will ensure that all the final report recommendations, including those stemming from the Lake Alice report, are thoroughly and promptly considered,” Minister Hipkins said.