Lake Alice survivors react to apology from Royal Australia New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 

A warning - some of the details in this story are harrowing and could upset some readers.    

Lake Alice survivors have rejected today's apology from the Royal Australia New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) for their handling of the torture and abuse of children in the 1970s.  

It was torture hidden behind closed doors.     

Vulnerable children in the adolescent unit at Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital faced unimaginable abuse.   

They were drugged, punished with electric shocks and subjected to physical and sexual assaults.

Today, 50 years later, behind closed doors, they finally received an apology, but for some it meant nothing.     

Karilyn Wildbore said, "You ever heard of the comment waste of breath?"   

She was just 12 years old when she was sent to Lake Alice and still carries the trauma of what she experienced.   

"I do have good days, don't get me wrong, everybody has good days.   

"But when you're continuously reminded of it, and having to deal with it, that's when it's hard. Nobody gets that picture."   

Wildbore, along with dozens of other survivors and their supporters, heard from the RANZCP president Elizabeth Moore.   

Media weren't allowed to film inside but were provided a short video.    

"On behalf of the college, and on behalf of psychiatry I am deeply sorry," Moore told the group.   

"We know that the Ngā Wairiki and Ngāti Apa peoples suffered and that their uri continue to feel the impact. We know many agencies repeatedly failed you."

Some survivors weren't impressed.     

"Complaints are not lost or ignored," Moore told the group.    

"Oh this is just bullshit, what a load of crap," said someone in the audience.     

Others called it hollow lip service and a fairy tale apology.     

The anger in the room was palpable.     

In the full written apology released to the media, the RANZCP wrote "we know the courageous attempts to raise concerns by young, vulnerable people detained at Lake Alice were ignored".   

Moore said she understands the emotion and said, "people will respond in different ways".    

"From our part it was genuine, we do want to work with people," she said.    

Lake Alice survivor Rosemary Thomson said the apology "was sort of meaningless".   

"It's all too little too late. It was too little for survivors, they're in their 60s now and what they're hoping for now is to get some proper compensation."    

So far, they feel they haven't got justice.    

The man who ran the unit and was responsible for much of the abuse, Selwyn Leeks, died in 2022.    

Survivors want others to face charges.    

In 2022, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in care found Lake Alice was a place of misery, neglect, terror, fear and torment.    

Wildbore asked, "why did you never believe us as kids?"    

The Royal Commission's final report with recommendations will be presented to the Government next month.