"I hope the public gets informed...." Interviewing about mistreatments in protectories and community homes in Austria
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
18th International Oral History (IOHA) Conference. Power and Democracy: the many voices of Oral History.
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
?I hope the public gets informed....? Interviewing about mistreatment in protectories and community homes in Austria
During the last years several narrative interviews have documented mass mistreatment in protectories, community homes and foster homes in Austria. ?I hope the public gets informed? and ?When I was a child nobody believed me?, was the statement of an interviewee asked about her experiences in a public community home. Shame and fear were not the only motives for silence. Repression and denial might have been one reason, powerlessness another one. The remembrances of many former inmates of such institutions were characterized by disrupted memories and silence. The presentation bases on dozens of interviews with former institutionalized children, who stayed in these institutions during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, primarily in Vienna (and Upper Austria). 2010 and 2011 several former inmates reported massive and systematic cases of child abuse to the media, some went to court. The allegations included repeated spanking, systematic pestering, sexual abuse and even rapes. Interviews with former inmates require a specific technique. The process of preparing the interrogation, the interview itself, the acquisition of additional information and testing the reliability are characterized by attributes, which will be described in the presentation as the question of publicising will be discussed. The author of the proposal was involved in several projects which dealt with the history of residential education and foster care in Austria. He was member of an investigative commission in Vienna. As a consequence of bringing the cases to the public meanwhile dozens of millions of Euros have been paid by regional gouvernments or religious associations for psychotherapeutical help, as compensation or gesture payments to former inmates. Complaint offices and proper quality management were installed to cope with the mistreatments and to avoid similar incidents in future.