The Lake Alice Hospital Child & Adolescent Unit: Accountability – The Response to Date

Ms Rosemary Thomson1

1New Zealand Law Society & Member of ANZAPPL, Auckland, New Zealand

To update members on the progress of the New Zealand Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care, and what occurred at the Child & Adolescent Unit at Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital in 1970s.

In the 1970s Dr Selwyn Leeks, a registered psychiatrist set up a child and adolescent unit of Lake Alice Hospital, New Zealand. The children and adolescents were controlled by “aversion therapy” and subjected to electroconvulsive therapy treatment, paraldehyde injections and other forms of abuse. A number of complaints followed. Dr Leeks relocated to Australia and continued to practice. There he was the subject to further complaints. In 2006 he surrendered his Australian practising certificate. A complaint was taken by the survivors of the Unit to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. This was upheld in 2019.

The Royal Commission has recently completed hearing from survivors of the Lake Alice Child & Adolescent Unit, together with state agencies and other involved parties.

The Chair of Royal Commission has indicated that they expect to have their report on Lake Alice completed before the end of 2021.

Lake Alice: a personal journey, newsroom.co.nz, January 21 2020

Journal of Law and Medicine 2020 Volume 27/3, The Lake Alice Hospital Child & Adolescent Unit: Accountability – The Response to Date – Rosemary L. Thomson


Biography:

Rosemary is a practising barrister in New Zealand specialising in Mental Health and Criminal Law. She is  a survivor of the Lake Alice Child & Adolescent Unit.