Salve Mater

The pictures contained in this book were taken over a period of several years, during various visits by Dave to Salve Mater, a disused psychiatric centre set up by Queen Elisabeth of Belgium in 1926 and run by the ‘Sisters of Love’ that closed in the late 1990’s. It is located in the small town of Leuven on the outskirts of Brussels.

Throughout the world, Governments now believe that former residents of these Institutions are better supported within their local community, although it is widely believed that this system does not work and only seeks to remove the Governments responsibilities to support these people, relying on many charities and other organisations to provide the care and support previously supplied by the state.

The cost cutting policy of Governments throughout the world is putting the lives of many people and communities at risk, whilst it could be argued that the people housed in these centres lived in inhumane conditions and were frequently abused, the present system is neither fare to these people nor to the public at large. A survey in the UK, published in November 2006, showed that on average one person is murdered each week by those who would have previously been housed within these centres. It is strongly believed that it is Governments responsibility, with the help of doctors and the community, to find a system beneficial to society as a whole.