Human Rights Commission calls for inquiry into abuse of people in state care

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The Human Rights Commission has issued an open letter asking the Government to initiate an independent inquiry into the abuse of New Zealanders held in state care. The letter has been signed by the Chief Human Rights Commissioner and all other Human Rights Commissioners, the Iwi Leaders Forum Co-Chairs, UNICEF, the Māori Women's Welfare League and many more.

The letter calls for:

  • an independent inquiry into the abuse of people held in State care
  • a public apology to those who were affected
  • taking steps to acknowledge the harm to victims and provide them with appropriate redress and rehabilitation
  • take action to ensure this never happens again.

The letter calls for an inquiry to cover the treatment of children, young people and vulnerable adults in state care in psychiatric and psychopaedic hospitals and wards, health camps, child welfare care, youth justice facilities and special education homes.

For more information, see the Human Rights Commission's press releases:

People who wish can add their names to the open letter.

The Prime Minister Bill English has said that the Government already understands the history and is prioritising the current child protection reforms. The Government has previously been criticised for not conducting an inquiry.

The open letter also has support from the NZ Labour Party, Māori PartyGreen Party, New Zealand First, Act Party and others - see the media below.

Selected media

'I was never loved as a child' - report argues systemic abuse of intellectually disabled, NZ Herald, 27.07.2017

Paul Gibson: We should be saying sorry to our Stolen Generation, NZ Herald, 27.07.2017

'I apologise bsolutely and sincerely' - Anne Tolley to victims of abuse in state care, Newshub, 30.06.2017

NZ has done 'horrific job' protecting intellectually disabled people in state care - commissioner, Radio NZ, 27.07.2017

State abuse survivors demand full inquiry, Radio NZ, 06.07.2017

Public inquiry wanted after historic abuse in state care, NZ Herald, 06.07.2017

Māori Party calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry into child abuse, Press release: Māori Party, Waatea News, 31.05.2017

Native Affairs - An allegation of abuse, Māori Television, 09.05.2017 

Native Affairs - A voyce of reason, Māori Television, 09.05.2017

State abuse survivor surprised at govt's stance on inquiry, Radio NZ, 19.04.2017

Victim blaming easier than inquiry, Waatea News, 13.04.2017

State care horror stories demand inquiry, Waatea News, 12.04.2017

Tamariki in care for being poor and brown, Interview with Paora Crawford-Moyle, Waatea News, 12.04.2017

Hearing and Healing the Violence of State Care, Press Release: New Zealand Association Of Psychotherapists, Scoop, 11.04.2017

MSD report leaves out number of abused children, NZ Herald, 10.04.2017

Call For Inquiry in to Abuse in Care, Press Release: Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, Scoop, 10.04.2017

Still no state child abuse inquiry, Newshub, 10.04.2017

State inquiry for Nga Morehu – The Survivors of state abuse, Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party, Scoop, 09.04.2017

Four former wards of the state share their horrific stories of abuse, Newshub, 09.04.2017

Labour calls for state care abuse inquiry, Newshub, 09.04.2017

Care inquiry positive for country, Waatea News, 06.04.2017

Child abuse in state care: Bureaucrats 'believed there was no problem', Radio NZ, 01.04.2017

Twenty-year fight for justice for male survivors of sexual abuse continues, Stuff, 19.03.2017

Inquiry needed for state wards to heal, Waatea News, 15.03.2017

Claim for child abuse inquiry lodged with Waitangi Tribunal, Radio NZ, 14.03.2017

Māori singled out by child welfare agencies, Māori Television, 14.03.2017

Pressure building for inquiry into state abuse, Press release: Green Party, Scoop, 14.03.2017

Claim to give Maori say on welfare abuse, Waatea News, 14.03.2017

State abuse claim lodged with Waitangi Tribunal, Radio NZ, 14.03.2017

Issue of abuse in state care headed to the Waitangi Tribunal, Radio NZ, 14.03.2017

State care inquiry chance to address prison numbers, Waatea News, 09.03.2017

Government spends more on lawyers than compensating victims, Press release: NZ Labour Party, Scoop, 07.03.2017

Paora Crawford Moyle on Te Wahanga Parakuihi with Dale Husband, Waatea News, 07.03.2017

Govt spends $700k fighting state abuse compo claim, Radio NZ, 06.03.2017

Looking backwards won't help future state abuse victims - English, Newshub, 05.03.2017

'Lost child' calls for Government to acknowledge immigrant abuses, Stuff, 05.03.2017

'Welcome to hell,' abused boys in state care told, NZ Herald, 04.03.2017

Poverty link to risk of child abuse cannot be ignored, Press Release: Child Poverty Action Group, Scoop, 03.03.2017

State care abuse inquiry expected to highlight department issues, Māori Television, 03.03.2017

14 years of abuse under state care, fuelling the fire to fight back, Māori Television, 03.03.2017

Dame Susan Devoy: State child care may explain why so many Maori are in prison, NZ Herald, 02.03.2017

Elizabeth Stanley: Reasons for vetoing inquiry into historic abuse don't stand up, Opinion, Stuff, 22.02.2017

Government has no appetite for abuse inquiry, Interview with Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox, Waatea News, 21.02.2017

Those who refuse to look at the past are doomed to repeat it, Press release: CLAN NZ (a branch of Care Leavers Australasia Network), Scoop, 16.02.2017

Calls mount for govt apology over state care abuse, Radio NZ, 15.02.2017

Editorial: An independent inquiry is needed into the state care of children, The Dominion Post, 15.02.2017

Answers needed on blighted childhood, Interview with Te Pou Matakana Chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Waatea News, 15.02.2017

Social system evolves through acknowledging past failures, Press release: Te Pou Matakana, Scoop, 15.02.2017

Opinion Piece: The Abuse of Children in State-Run Schools, Karen Johansen, Indigenous Rights Commissioner, Scoop, 15.02.2017

Prison and family violence linked to historic state abuse, Interview with Greens Māori spokesperson Marama Davidson, Waatea News, 14.02.2017

E Kore Ano inquiry critical for abused thousands, Waatea News, 14.02.2017

Carolyn Henwood: Time has come for New Zealanders to clearly state how children should be treated, Stuff, 13.02.2017

Demand grows for inquiry into alleged historic abuse of children in state care, NZ Herald, 13.02.2017

Call for Govt apology for victims of state care abuse, Newstalk ZB, 13.02.2017

Prominent Kiwis call for independent inquiry into claims of abuse of children in state care, NZ Herald, 13.02.2017

State care inquiry best way to prevent repeat, Interview with Prue Kapua President of the Maori Women's Welfare League, Waatea News, 13.02.2017

State care inquiry needed, Waatea News, 13.02.2017

English resists state care inquiry, Waatea News, 13.02.2017

Daryl Brougham: Growing calls for inquiry into historic abuse of children in state care, Newstalk ZB, 13.02.2017

State care abuse inquiry would be a 'significant distraction': PM, Newstalk ZB, 13.02.2017

Editorial: Inquiry into state care would do no harm, NZ Herald, 13.02.2017