Intellectually disabled boy treated by state beaten, given enough medicine to tranquilize his horse

“He was apparently prescribed a drug that would lead to another drug [to] treating the side effects of the first and so on, until there was a real cocktail of drugs he was taking.”

Bruises were also regularly found on his body, which was consistent with abuse.

“Those bruises extended to his genital area as well, there were other things going on.”

Another incident saw Newman’s brother go through a flat glass window or door.

“The only thing Mum and I could conclude was that he was being chased by either a resident or a staff member, and we don’t know.”

He said his mother tried to get to the bottom of it but hit a brick wall.

“I believe the aggressive behaviors were the result of a variety of medications over an extended period, combined with the physical abuse my brother had also experienced from staff and other residents at various facilities.”

Newman said the abuse his brother suffered had lasting effects on his family.

“We became very dysfunctional and still are to this day.”

His brother became a product of institutionalization, he said.

From a curious little boy who followed his brother everywhere, Newman said he would get violent, banging his head until he bled or tearing out his own fingernails.

He said his mother and brother should apologize.

A former disability researcher who spent time interviewing Kimberly residents also testified before the commission.

Paul Milner said that at least 80% of the time residents were engaged in nothing meaningful and doing essentially nothing.

Milner said physical and verbal abuse were commonplace along with general depersonalization.

He also experienced what was called the “Kimberley Cringe”.

This was the term used for the reaction of the residents when approached by people in that they almost always cowered.

Milner said physical violence within institutions has become normalized.

He described a particular Kimberley villa, “Palm Grove”, as a prison.

One of its inhabitants was able to drive a tractor before going to Kimberley, but after his stay there the man became completely mute.

“Imagine the hardships that would cause you to lose your language. That language was of no use to you in an institution. I find it hard to imagine that.”

Milner said those actions weren’t defensible to anyone.

The Abuse in Care Inquiry said abuse in state care of the disabled, deaf and mentally distressed was overt and systemic.

The hearing continues this week.

RNZ

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