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Eight Minutes Pure Torment: Urgent Probe Ordered As Horror Video Shows Care Home Beatings

In these images taken from video, a number of adults are seen hitting children with canes, including holding them down on a table to do so.

In these images taken from video, a number of adults are seen hitting children with canes, including holding them down on a table to do so.

VIDEO SHOWS CHILDREN BEING BEATEN BY STAFF

IT’S supposed be a sanctuary for children desperate for help and protection, somewhere to feel safe and loved.

For precisely eight harrowing minutes and 14 seconds if you can stomach to watch it there is a glimpse of the hell these children have been abandoned to.

Thankfully the video is mute, hiding us from the screams of the children as they are whipped by the people who are supposed to be guarding them, women who we can see whooping with delight as the torture goes on.

It begins with children and adults sitting and standing together, a woman in the centre who is clearly in charge of proceedings.

The first child is told to come forward into the centre of the room, clearly knowing what is about to happen.

For a few seconds the woman is talking to him then suddenly she lashes out with a short cane, once, twice. The boy writhes in agony and tries to escape but is dragged back for another three lashes.

A second boy comes forward. Nine times he has to endure the searing pain of the woman’s frenzied swipes.

A third boy. Three lashes. A fourth, three lashes and he falls to the floor. On and on it goes and horrifically the children are clearly getting younger. Some can be no more than five years old but.

In all 11 innocent children are brought forward to endure this savagery.

When you think it can’t get any worse the women doing the beating is handed another seemingly longer and more flexible weapon. The first victim is called back and whipped five times to his legs and buttocks.

In the background one of the onlooking women starts skipping and dancing in delight at the new pain being inflicted.

Another boy is returned for a second, double lashing.

It’s still not over as now other women join in.

A boy, perhaps seven or eight, is grabbed by two large women and as one pins him struggling to a table the other sets about him with her own lash. He’s struggling throughout as she beats him, at least 20 times before he somehow manages to escape.

Another boy is grabbed, two women pinning him to the table as the third – now with a taste for the pain she is inflicting. The boy falls to the floor but still cannot escape as the woman pursues him as he crawls desperately across the room.

All the time the woman is lashing down on him until eventually he crawls to where the other children are sitting, all of them now being whipped by their frenzied attacker.

The women are now hugging and clapping, revelling in their brutality as if it’s some sort of game.

Their euphoria even sees another wheelchair-bound adult enter the fray and land half a dozen lashes on a child being held by the first main assailant.

Throughout it all two adults sat watching just feet away from all that had gone on.

At no point did they intervene, try to bring their colleagues to their senses.

How can people behave like this?

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

A SHOCKING video has emerged showing children being severely beaten and mocked by staff in an emergency care home.

In one particularly distressing moment in the video, a boy is forcibly restrained and pinned to a table by a caretaker as he tries to resist a frenzied whipping from a large woman holding what appeared to be a stick.

Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell yesterday warned “no stone will be left unturned” in a full, impartial investigation.

The incident is said to have taken place at the Children’s Emergency Hostel.

Mr Campbell would not say whether any of the people involved had been put on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Yesterday, The Tribune contacted the children’s home seeking a statement from its administrator Sabrina Smith, but was told by her secretary she would not be making a statement.

Instead, this newspaper was directed to the Department of Social Services.

“Last evening, I was alerted to a video that was circulating purporting to be children being abused at one of our children’s homes,” Mr Campbell said yesterday outside Cabinet. “As a matter of fact, it was suggested that it was the Children’s Emergency Hostel.

“As a result of that I caused some preliminary inquiries to be done and those inquiries suggested to me that it is necessary to launch a full investigation and so that investigation commenced this morning.

“I want to make it clear that in no way, form or fashion do we support any form of abuse against children, adults, girls, boys, (or) women. No form of violence or abuse, we do not support it in any way form or fashion. As the minister responsible for the eight children’s homes with approximately 150 children throughout the Commonwealth, including Grand Bahama and Cat Island, it is my job to ensure that those children enjoy the full safety and comfort and security that the state has to offer.

“So, I want to ensure the public who would have seen the videos, who out of concern would have shared them with me – I want to ensure those who are likely to start paging me that I am on the job as it relates to this matter. I want to thank all who have expressed genuine concern and to reassure the public that this matter would be properly investigated.

“It will be impartially investigated.”

He continued: “I have spoken to the chairman of the board at the Children’s Emergency Hostel and we are on the same page and so just want to ensure everybody that even prior to this we have been having regular meetings trying to put together management agreements because you may appreciate that all of these homes are not owned by the government. Many of them we are partnering with.

“That notwithstanding the welfare of the children is ours. The children are our children and so we want to ensure that in those management agreements that there is a protocol for discipline and there is a distinct difference between discipline and abuse and we draw the line there.”

The alarming incident was captured on the home’s surveillance camera. The video was posted to Facebook and went viral yesterday.

The video begins with a number of children and caretakers in a room. A woman caretaker in black pants calls a boy to the centre of the room and appears to admonish him before hitting him on the buttocks with what appears to be a stick. The child keels over in pain from the blows.

As he shuffles away, the caretaker follows him into a corner out of the camera’s frame.

When she re-enters the frame, the caretaker is seen pulling the boy by his shirt and hits him again several more times before letting him go. Several more children, who all appeared to be boys, are called one by one to receive lashings. Some children even fall to the floor during the beatings.

While this is going on, another worker in blue is seen mocking the children and their cries of pain.

The incident climaxes about five minutes and thirty seconds into the video when a small boy begins to walk to the centre of the room for his beating, but then backs away in fear. At that point, a woman in blue lifts him up and attempts to subdue him.

The boy kicks and tries to free himself from her hold, but is thrown on top of a desk and pinned down while a large woman in a dress beats him about the body as another caretaker looks on. After a struggle, he is able to get away and runs out of frame. A second boy is also brought to the table before being pinned down and beaten in similar fashion. He frees himself from the table and falls to the ground several times while being beaten by one caretaker and held by another. The woman in the dress is then seen going around the room hitting seated children with her stick.

Towards the end of the eight-minute-long video, someone in a wheelchair also enters the room and hits another child as well.

Asked how many people were being investigated and whether they were placed on leave, Mr Campbell said: “Well the investigation will determine that and so I don’t want to pre-preempt but I want to assure you that we will leave no stone unturned. We will let the chips fall where they may and at the end of the day as I came forward to you this morning, I will come back and update you as to what has transpired.”

Regarding the investigation, Mr Campbell said it was being handled by the Child Protection Council initially, adding: “If it warrants anything more, we will go wherever we have to go to ensure it is clearly understood that we will not accept any kind of abuse towards our children.”

However, he said, he did not want the matter to suggest the ministry was negligent in its handling of children’s homes.

“I don’t want this to suggest that the ministry is in any way, form or fashion negligent, that the ministry does not have a protocol in place. So, I don’t want to even go there at this time.

“I want to say to you that a matter came to our attention and we are going to do everything we could to ensure that it is properly ventilated and if someone is culpable the chips will fall where they may.”

The Children’s Emergency Hostel is a quasi-government short term residential child care facility that houses minors between the ages of 12 months and 12 years old. It was created to provide temporary accommodation, food, clothing, medical care and other necessities to abandoned and neglected children, until more permanent arrangements could be made for their welfare.

The government supports the home, but it is managed by a board of directors, according to an online description.

Comments

SP 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Regardless of blah, blah, run for cover blah, this is not a "one time" occurrence. Physical and mental abuse is the prevalent status quo throughout the Bahamas within all government agencies.

These people act as if it is their sole solum duty to inflict inconvenience, pain, and suffering on the populace.

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shonkai 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Is not the government, it is in the people!!!! Often see kids in the foodstore or restaurant being hit or pulled by the ears, by their parents. Mentality needs to change, people in "power" (parents, teachers, police, prison staff. . .) often feel they are allowed to do anything they want with the ones entrusted to them.

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John 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Most of the adults in this country grew up in eras behemoth mass caning was common place both at school and in the home. Those days when one expected a beating/whipping and would put on extra layers of clothing or go by other family to avoid it, only to find it would be there waiting when you return and even doubled. Some children would even run away and hide by friends and others would threaten to do so. And anyone who has been in custody of a few boys know the difficulty of remaining in charge or maintaining control without having to administer corporal punishment if only a tap across the knuckles with a ruler. So what has changed? Has the advent of the ‘living color era’ made the population more sensitive to these beatings or have persons became more aware and sensitive to the horror of these beatings? The thing is what did these children do to deserve mass corporal punishment and how effective was it in curbing the behavior? Do guidelines need to be put in place for the administration of such punishment or should it be totally prohibited?

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GodSpeed 2 months, 4 weeks ago

This ain't the States okay? Some of these rude kids need to get whooped. But I will look the video up first before casting judgement.

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TalRussell 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Shocking is an understatement that gives a whole new meaning to what can only be described as severely mean, violent and ugly treatment colony's children placed under the care of the competent authority.
Social services should have already taken emergency action have moved-in to replace and remove all staff and management personnel.
This is a most urgent and serious
Police Matter, not be swept under the bureaucracy carpet. Shakehead** a quick once for upyeahvote, Twice for not?

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thomas 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Public outrage seems the only way to get government action. I wish there was a way to get action when those who are marginalized in our society need help without a public spectacle. Someone must have sounded the alarm at some point before this recording, which appears to be cctv in the building. Why was there no action until the recording was leaked?

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hrysippus 2 months, 4 weeks ago

If this video is true then It is just so sad that monsters like these have such absolute power over the most vulnerable children in our country. I know exactly how I would like to see these staff members punished for their egregious action, I will not share the details of how, but it would be a very public event.

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John 2 months, 4 weeks ago

And let us not forget the police beatings where 4 out of every 5 victims may be innocent and the instances where women were beaten ‘like men’, by policemen.

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SP 2 months, 4 weeks ago

The politicians silence condone torture

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tribanon 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Regarding the investigation, Mr Campbell said it was being handled by the Child Protection Council initially, adding: “If it warrants anything more, we will go wherever we have to go to ensure it is clearly understood that we will not accept any kind of abuse towards our children.”

The only place this is going is under the rug, like everything else.

And just think for a moment about the many children who were severely abused during the ridiculous lockdowns ordered by Minnis. But Minnis truly doesn't care about what happens to the less fortunate children in our society from a safety standpoint, just as he really doesn't care whether or not they get an adequate education in our public school system.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't know why everybody so shocked, we're shocked. This is how Bahamians discipline children normally. These people just happen to be on video. It's disgusting how we pretend. Every year the Police Commissioner and Minister of national security excuse officers murdering people and beating people within an inch of their lives. Look at the officer who beat up the two 17 year old girls. And what does the commissioner say? We're lucky if we get the it's a few bad apples statement. When they have the lynching of the authoritarians at the emergency hostel they need to simultaneously announce the investigation at the prison, police stations, boys and girls industrial school and couple MP houses.

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TalRussell 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Does it not boggle the mind when there is the real potential for political coverup as to why weren't the constabulary not called in immediately after a most disturbing video surfaced that children in the custody of the government had been violently beaten?
This remains a police matter and should not be left to political appointees and bureaucrats in Frankie's office to investigate.
Innocent children under custody government must not be left at risk of living in fear of their own caregiver adults. Children must not be used as politicians' pawns.
Justifies why the urgency Royal Constabulary to be reshaped into a separate and independent* constabulary, far away from political interference. Shakehead** a quick once for upyeahvote, Twice for not?

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John 2 months, 4 weeks ago

In the video some of the young boys dropped to the floor after receiving just one stroke of the ‘cane.’ Others ran off only to be brought back to the persons administering the punishment for additional strokes of the cane. The ‘administrator’ seem to grow more infuriated when the children broke away and used more force on them when they were brought back. Biblical guidelines state that punishment should not be administered by someone who is angry. The ‘administrator’ who is fairly large in size also seems to tire towards the end of the video so the last boys appeared to get less caning than the first ones and with less force.

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