An advocate for abuse survivors says an apology over torture at Lake Alice psychiatric hospital is an insult to victims.
Patients tortured at Lake Alice psychiatric hospital have finally received an apology from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists after waiting for more than 40 years.
The Royal Commission into abuse in state care has been told of psychiatrists and staff at the Lake Alice child and adolescent unit being administered electric shocks and paralysing drugs as punishment for minor crimes during the reign of terror that began in the 1970s. It was told of multiple other forms of abuse by former patients.
But Royal Forum - a group monitoring the work of the Abuse in Care inquiry - says the survivors deserve more.
It says the college has not been in contact with any of the former patients and the statement containing the apology was only posted on its website and is hard to find.
Representative of the group Dr Oliver Sutherland said the apology was meaningless.
"It fails on two counts. Firstly, in terms of the process assurances were given that there would be some dialogue or consultation with the forum and hopefully with survivors before it was concluded. But actually, none heard anything or even were aware of it until it appeared on the rather obscure website of the Royal College."
He also said it failed in terms of content and didn't specifically address individual abuse that occurred within the regime that was operating at the hospital.
"Overall it's an insult and very disrespectful to the survivors," he said.
The apology had been picked up by an advocate by chance and had mostly addressed the work of the Royal Commission and did nothing to address the particular pain and damage that was done to survivors, Sutherland said.
He said survivors had been deeply disappointed by what they saw as a false apology and that a substantive apology should have been issued.
"It's interesting because the Royal College had waited for 46 years. They knew what was happening from 1977 and they've waited this time and now suddenly slipped something on to their website, which nobody knew was coming and which fails miserably."
"Real apologies for needed for real abuse and the real harm that was suffered, not a sort of a half-baked apology that slims lightly over the surface and doesn't mention the real abuses that occurred."