Former Institution Residents Demand Compensation And
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 10, 2002
NEW WESTMINSTER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--Former residents of a British Columbia institution say they were physically abused while at the facility. And even though the institution has been closed for six years, they are banding together to make sure they are never institutionalized again.
An estimated 1,700 former residents of the Woodlands Institution are still alive. About 50 of them have formed a support group after a government report released in July revealed the facility's staff physically and sexually abused the residents.
The investigation, by former B.C. ombudsman Dulcie McCallum, found that between the years 1950 and 1996 Woodlands residents were beaten, kicked, bullied, belittled, shackled, leashed, and forced to take very cold showers and skin-burning hot baths. Some were sexually assaulted.
Members of the We Survived Woodlands Committee said Monday that they won't push a lawsuit against the province if it sets up a fund to provide them with counseling and financial help. They also want an apology, along with a promise that they will never again be sent to an institution.
The government has no plans to proceed with a second phase of the investigation, according to Children and Families Minister Gordon Hogg. The Minister pointed to a Nova Scotia report that found "second phases or interviews or compensation packages, some of those things in many ways re-victimize the residents and re-victimize the staff."
In other words, looking further into the abuse, and paying the victims would cause them more harm than good.
Former residents don't agree. Not only do they want a second phase, but they want the government to expand the investigation to include other institutions.