Two institutions. Both opened in the 1920s. Both funded by the Province. Both with poor conditions and unqualified staff. And both with allegations of serious abuse perpetrated by staff members. But the similarities end there.
When one juxtaposes the situations between the two institutions, the differences in how the allegations have been handled are startling and readily apparent.
In relation to Shelburne, after a few victims came forward, the Province quickly decided to fund an investigation into the abuse. The investigation revealed that residents were abused and the Province quickly agreed to compensate the victims, approximately 5 years after the original complaint was brought with the RCMP.
In relation to the NSHCC, no funds for an investigation were provided, no inquires into the merits of the abuse claims were made and no compensation has ever been provided.
Rather, unlike the Shelburne situation, the sole focal point of the Defendants in the NSHCC claims were to repeatedly apply to the Court to deny the claims on the basis that the victims should have brought their actions sooner. Not to dispute the claims but to use Nova Scotia’s antiquated limitations laws to stop the claims. In addition, the abuse victims have had to undergo emotionally painful discovery examinations and answer questions of an invasive nature.
There is another difference between the NSHCC and Shelburne which can be distinguished. The majority of the Shelburne victims were white. The vast majority of the Colored Home victims are black.
The stark contrast between the way that the allegations of abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children and Shelburne have been handled lead to serious questions.
Why did the Province fund an investigation for victims in Shelburne but not for the victims of the NSHCC?
Why were people charged in relation to abuse at Shelburne but not in relation to the NSHCC?
What makes the Colored Home abuse victims any different from the Shelburne abuse victims?
Why did the Province agree to compensate Shelburne victims 5 year after the complaint was brought while it continues to deny justice to Colored Home victims almost 10 years after the complaints were brought?
The victims of abuse at the NSHCC believe it is time for the Province to answer these questions.