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    Institutional Abuse

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    Would you know of a good case that defines institutional abuse that I could discuss in a paper I am doing?

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    Here is one example:
    On August 30, 2004 the Commonwealth Senate Community Affairs References Committee released the first of two reports about the abuse of children in institutional care (Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children).

    It is impossible to convey the true nature and extent of the abuse and suffering inflicted in these institutions. The Committee received submissions from hundreds of survivors. The detailed accounts of physical abuse and neglect, emotional abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, broad dehumanization and cruelty by people (many of whom claimed to promote Christian values) charged with the care of so many already-vulnerable children, demonstrates the horrific lives that thousands of Australian children endured in "care".

    The Committee report states that one Committee member described the inquiry as, "The most emotionally wrenching period I have spent in politics in fifteen years", and this view was shared by all members. The Committee members and staff involved in the inquiry found that, "The scale and magnitude of the events described in evidence was overwhelming". Two senators broke down when speaking at the release of the report.

    My own research in this field leads me to the conclusion that the accounts of many survivors - of extreme physical violence and degradation, sexual violence, emotional torment and psychological disintegration - rank with those of survivors of concentration camps and prisoners of tyrannical regimes. The fact that this violence was committed on children arguably makes the abuse of power even more terrible. If ever one needed evidence that human beings are just as capable of extreme cruelty as they are of extreme goodness, then this report provides it.

    So it has always been. We should not fool ourselves that such unevolved savagery has not happened - and does not happen still - in Australia. This is not to condemn all people in these institutions, but it is to condemn those who were responsible for perpetrating these acts, and those responsible for enabling the perpetrators to do so.

    Committee findings and recommendations
    Some of the Committee's findings were that:

    There has been wide-scale unsafe, improper and unlawful care of children, a failure of duty of care, and serious and repeated breaches of statutory obligations.
    Many comments in recent years by governments, churches and care providers reveal a complete lack of understanding of, or acceptance of, responsibility for the level of neglect, abuse and assault that occurred in their institutions.
    Governments, churches and agencies should issue formal statements acknowledging their role in past institutional care policies and practices and the impact this had on the lives of many care-leavers. These statements should express sorrow and apologize for the physical, psychological and social harm caused as a result of the care-leavers' experiences as children in institutional care.
    These acknowledgments must be accompanied by other positive measures.
    A national reparations fund for victims of institutional and out of home care abuse should be established.
    Simply by investigating and recording what has happened, the inquiry has performed a ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution details a court case involving institutional abuse.