Foster home child abuse ‘worse than expected’

The level of child abuse in Swedish foster homes and orphanages from the 1950s to the 1980s has turned out to be "much worse than expected," according to a new government report.

One of the authors of the report, Göran Johansson, is scheduled to present the report’s preliminary findings to the government on Tuesday.

The study focuses solely on people who say they were mistreated as children while in the care of foster families or orphanages.

“It was much worse than we had expected. None of us knew the full extent or depth of their misery,” Göran Johansson told Dagens Nyheter.

A total of 62 people have so far explained to the reports’ authors what became of them after they were placed in the care of the state – mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, but also as late as the early 1980s.

“We feel a sense of desperation, and indeed rage, with respect to the stories we have heard,” said Johansson.

“They relate to systematic abuse at the hands of those who were supposed to care for and protect the children. There was everything from ruthless exploitation by means of physical labour to serious assault, psychological terror and rape,” he added.