More evidence exposed of disturbing orphanage treatment

Reports by Latvian journalists exposing sometimes brutal and often degrading or careless treatment of the residents of Latvia's children's homes have been some of the most frequent headlines during 2017.

Another story was added to the growing list of institutional failures October 6 when LTV's investigative journalism show Aizliegtais paņēmiens (Forbidden methods) showed disturbing scenes from a Riga children's home.

An LTV journalist went undercover for two weeks (working a gruelling 78-hour week) at the State Social Care Center in Riga to observe working practices. Footage obtained showed infants with restricted access to exercise and fresh air, diapers not being replaced when necessary and insufficient access to medical and dental care.

Some of the treatment constituted "physical and emotional abuse" of the children, according to experts consulted by the show.

After seeing advance footage of the show before it was broadcast, Welfare Minister Janis Reirs issued a public apology, but said officials were already investigating goings-on at the orphanage and other institutions: "The investigation clearly indicates very serious violations of children's rights, which is categorically unacceptable. If such an offense were discovered in a family or in a foster family, then children would be removed from it instantly."

Reirs vowed to take action to put matters right.

If you would like to watch the whole show (in Latvian only) you can do so via our special international online channel HERE.
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