There was ‘systematic abuse’ in children’s homes, says commission chairman

children playgroundDozens of people who say they were abused while living with foster families or in children’s homes have contacted a government commission investigating child social services.

The government has set up a special commission to carry out a preliminary investigation into claims of systematic abuse in children’s homes and in foster care up to the present day.

Commission chairman Micha de Winter told local broadcaster RTV Utrecht so far 70 people have come forward and he has been shocked by the ‘intensity of the suffering’ which is being reported.

It is not too early to talk of ‘structural abuse’ in child services, De Winter said. ‘What we have seen so far is serious. It goes on for a long time and has a major impact on the rest of your life. Humiliation, neglect, physical violence – being thrown downstairs, locked up and hit – it often all happened at the same time.’

The seven-strong committee’s preliminary research will cover violence in youth services from 1945 to the present day. It will report back in May when ministers will decide if there should be a wider inquiry, including a formal registration point.

‘Many people are only just realising that their sexual or behavioural problems may have been caused by what happened to them in care,’ De Winter said.

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