The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry has made a number of announcements and completed its first public hearings.
New Chairperson for the inquiry
Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced that Judge Coral Shaw has been appointed as the new Chair for the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions.
Judge Shaw has been one of the Inquiry's Commissioners since January 2019. Read more about Judge Shaw and the other members of the Commission. Also see the Commission media release for more information. Judge Shaw replaces Sir Anand Satyanand, who resigned in August 2019.
The Minister is currently considering the appointment of another Commissioner to fill the vacancy left by Judge Shaw.
First public hearings completed
The first round of public hearings took place from 29 October - 8 November 2019. Survivors, advocates, academics and experts gave evidence to the Contextual hearing. The focus was to gather information that provides context to the scope of the Inquiry, which the Inquiry will explore in more detail over the next few years. Written evidence summaries and video recordings of people speaking at the hearings is available on the Inquiry website. See also the media listed below.
Submissions invited on redress
The Inquiry's September 2019 pānui stated that the Inquiry is seeking feedback on redress. The Inquiry states:
"The term ‘redress’ refers to actions that set right, remedy or provide reparations for harms or injuries caused by a wrong, such as abuse. Redress takes many forms, including apologies and monetary compensation."
The Commission has begun planning for the first public hearing related to redress which will take place in March 2020. This hearing will look at the experiences of survivors when making civil claims against the Crown for abuse in state care and how the Crown has responded. The Commission has published a scoping paper that outlines what this hearing will consider.
In preparation for this hearing, the Commission is inviting submissions from people who have been involved in civil litigation in relation to abuse while in care. This includes people who have been involved as a plaintiff/claimant, defendant, legal representative, member of the plaintiff/claimant’s family or whānau, or professionals. The Commission has outlined specific areas and questions for feedback, and how to make a submission, in the Issues Paper - Redress (civil litigation).
The deadline to make a submission is 12 December 2019.
Update: The Commission has scheduled the hearing on redress to start 23 March 2020. The hearing, 'Public Hearing into the State Response to Civil Redress and Civil Litigation Claims', will be held in Wellington's Environment Court. It is expected to run for two weeks.
Commission signs agreement with NZ Police
The Commission has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with New Zealand Police. The MOU creates a pathway for survivors to request referrals of abuse be referred to Police for investigation. It also allows for the Commission to refer incidents to Police if similar allegations or themes of abuse emerge from survivors' stories.
Other updates from the Royal Commission
Other updates from the September Pānui and October Pānui include:
- Message from Commissioner Coral Shaw addressing media reports about involvement of convicted child sex offender with the Survivors Advisory Group (also see the Statement from the Inquiry)
- Information on private sessions, including a video on what to expect
- Legal Assistance Panel to be set up
- Survivors in prisons sharing their experiences
- Catholic Church lifts confidentiality requirement
You can view past Pānui and other updates on the Inquiry website. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to the Pānui emails.
The Survivors of Church Abuse NZ has published a guide for survivors who want to report their experiences to the Inquiry. The guide is available for download from Male Survivors Aotearoa.
The Bishops and Congregational Leaders of the Catholic Church lifted confidentiality obligations on survivors of abuse in the care of the Catholic Church. The Inquiry requested the confidentiality waiver to ensure survivors can share their experiences and effectively take part in the Inquiry, despite any settlement agreements. The Crown and the Salvation Army provided similar waivers in August 2019.
Redress Hearing And Private Sessions Deferred, Press Release: Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry, Scoop, 16.03.2020
Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam leaves role in Royal Commission into abuse in care, RNZ, 03.03.2020
Becroft adds pressure to police review, Newsroom, 24.02.2020
Police review Lake Alice file after UN decision, Newsroom, 20.02.2020
Iwi asked to help abuse inquiry, Waatea News, 05.02.2020
Royal Commission inquiry looking into Lake Alice and other allegations of abuse, Whanganui Chronicle, 25.01.2020
Lake Alice: a personal journey, Newsroom, 21.01.2020
Abuse in care: Files show government department knew of rape allegations, RNZ, 16.01.2020
UN urges investigation into torture at NZ psychiatric facility, RNZ, 10.01.2020
UN condemns NZ’s response to Lake Alice torture, Newsroom, 07.01.2020
Royal Commission Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital investigation, Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry media release, 29.12.2019
New strategy for resolving historical claims, Beehive Press Release, 17.12.2019
Crown open to iwi input to state care abuse fix, Waatea News, 17.12.2019
Extended cut: UN to investigate New Zealand's 'national shame', Newshub, 30.11.2019
Lake Alice: UN to investigate New Zealand's 'national shame', Newshub, 30.11.2019
Royal Commission or royal mess: Abuse in Care inquiry's first year of troubled waters, RNZ, 25.11.2019
Two survivors quit Royal Commission advisory group, RNZ, 19.11.2019
Survivors quit abuse royal commission over lack of support, misinformation, RNZ, 19.11.2019
One woman's fight to stop the 'generational curse' of child abuse, Stuff, 17.11.2019
Robert Ludbrook, campaigner for adoption reform, Stuff, 16.11.2019
Abuse inquiry's new chair Judge Coral Shaw: survivors voice reservations, RNZ, 15.11.2019
Shaw tackles abuse inquiry challenge, Waatea News, 15.11.2019
New head of NZ’s biggest ever royal commission admits mistakes have been made, One News, 14.11.2019
Judge Coral Shaw to oversee Royal Commission into abuse in stare care, Stuff, 14.11.2019
Catholic Church starts survey 'to be prepared' for abuse inquiry, RNZ, 13.11.2019
Royal Commission into abuse in care hearings: What we learnt, RNZ, 09.11.2019
'We still hear harrowing accounts': Children's Commissioner gives stark warning to abuse inquiry, Stuff, 08.11.2019
Abuse survivor raped at foster homes, sexually abused by nun, RNZ, 08.11.2019
Royal Commission hearings: Children's Commissioner says state care has failed, RNZ, 07.11.2019
State care institutions central to early gang formation - academic, RNZ, 07.11.2019
Woman recalls years of ill-treatment in state care, RNZ, 07.11.2019
Abuse in Care inquiry: Number of claimants increasing - law firm, RNZ, 04.11.2019
Abuse survivors not compensated enough, Commission hears, RNZ, 04.11.2019
Abuse in care inquiry: 'Arduous process' to reach ultimate context, RNZ, 04.11.2019
Closed adoptions a deliberate assimilation policy, Waatea News, 04.11.2019
Louise Nicholas says the Government is stepping up, ensuring processes are fairer and safer for victims, Stuff, 11.02.2019
Disabled people's basic needs not met, abuse in care inquiry told, RNZ, 01.11.2019
Royal Commission hearing: Sir Kim Workman takes aim at National Party, RNZ, 01.11.2019
The Bulletin: Painful testimony at abuse in state care inquiry, The Spinoff, 01.11.2019
Abuse in Care inquiry: 'Terrible' treatment of children in 1970s, advocate says, RNZ, 31.10.2019
Abuse in care inquiry: 'Colonisation is an inherently abusive process', RNZ, 30.10.2019
Abuse inquiry: Māori babies deemed 'bad' babies and adopted to white families, tribunal hears, Stuff, 30.10.2019
Woman removed from whānau says racism played part in adoption, RNZ, 30.10.2019
Impact on Māori forced into state care laid bare at Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse, One News, 30.10.2019
Royal Commission of Inquiry to hear evidence publicly today, RNZ, 29.10.2019
Abuse in Care Royal Commission: Survivors recall abuse and violence, RNZ, 29.10.2019
First witness takes stand in historical abuse Royal Commission, Newstalk ZB, 29.10.2019
New Royal Commission chair to be announced 'very shortly', RNZ, 29.10.2019
Resignation ahead of Royal Commission public hearings, Newsroom, 29.10.2019
What to expect from the long-awaited Abuse in Care Royal Commission, RNZ, 28.10.2019
Acord archives to cast light on abuse in care, Waatea News, 22.10.2019
Greater transparency wanted over agreement, Otago Daily Times, 12.10.2019
Survivors frustrated by commission’s ‘cone of silence’, Newsroom, 11.10.2019
Bishop resigns from liaison group linked to Crown investigation into historical abuse cases, Stuff, 09.10.2019
Judge encourages survivors of state and faith-based abuse to come forward, Stuff, 08.10.2019
Abuse in Care Inquiry Public hearing witness list released, Press Release: Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry, Scoop, 07.10.2019
Cardinal: 'Bishop Drennan's behaviour was completely unacceptable', RNZ, 05.10.2019
1400 child sexual abuse survivors come forward to talk to Royal Commission, Stuff, 04.10.2019