‘A lot of abuse took place there’: State care institutions vanished from records


December 16, 2020

By Aaron Smale

There’s a big chunk of Kath Coster’s childhood that is a blank. Not because she can’t remember it – she will never forget the time she spent at Strathmore Girls’ Home in Christchurch.

The abuse she went through from the age of nine has left deep scars. “I don’t think you ever get over that kind of thing,” she says.

But the Department of Social Welfare, as it was called then, that ran Strathmore has passed on an institutional amnesia to its present-day iteration, the Ministry of Social Development. It has left little trace of the existence of Strathmore, which was closed in 1980.

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