Allegations of Abuse in Institutions

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Berhampore Childrens Home


The Dominion Post
June 18 2004

Home abuse claims investigated
by Andrew Kelly

Presbyterian Support is investigating claims of abuse at a Wellington children's home during the 1960s.

Former residents have made allegations against a former employee of Presbyterian Support Central, which ran the Berhampore children's home.

A spokesman for the charitable trust, Trevor Roberts, said it had investigated two complaints made in 2002 about the man's conduct. Last week, it learned of two other complainants, and has made initial inquiries into their cases.

Mr Roberts said the trust's policy was to advise people to contact police when there were criminal allegations involved. It would not try to "cover up" the situation.

"Whether the allegations are justified or not, the answer is I don't know," Mr Roberts said. "We don't have the skills to mount a criminal investigation, the police do."

One of the alleged abuse victims lodged a complaint with Palmerston North police in 1987 but it was found there was not enough evidence to justify a prosecution.

Detective Inspector Doug Brew, manager of Central Districts crime service, said the situation could change if other complainants came forward.

He is to meet the complainant in the next two weeks to discuss her case and that of any other complainants. If the matter was investigated it would be dealt with by Wellington police, he said.

Mr Roberts said none of the complainants had taken legal action against Presbyterian Support. He could not rule out further complainants coming forward.

Presbyterian Support Central stopped working with orphanages in 1985. It runs several elderly care facilities and a social services unit.