SNAP New Zealand Playing a Key Role in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-Based Institutions
The New Zealand Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-Based Institutions is conducting its Faith-Based Redress Hearing - Phase Two, from March 15 to 29, 2021. Witnesses for Faith-based institutions will give evidence before the Commission on their processes for resolving historic and current abuse claims.
As a core participant in this hearing, SNAP Aotearoa New Zealand will deliver an Opening Statement to the Commission on 22 March 2021. SNAP’s Opening Statement will speak to its members’ experiences with church redress processes. It will also make recommendations to the Commission regarding what it believes needs to change.
SNAP Aotearoa will also submit a formal written Submission, to be available to the public, which will respond to questions raised in the Commission’s Terms of Reference. Key questions answered are: What happened to people in faith-based institutions? Why were people treated this way? What was happening in the institutions that let this abuse happen? How did this abuse affect the people who were abused? How did this abuse affect people’s family / whānau? How did this abuse affect other people in their lives? Did we learn anything about how to do things better from what happened to people? What changes have been made to stop people from being abused? Were any new rules/laws made to keep people safe? How are things working now? How can churches do things better in the future for their members?
The SNAP Submission will also speak to cases concerning victims and survivors' experiences with formal church redress processes across New Zealand, and the handling of sexual abuse complaints by religious leaders in general, and the way religious leaders have treated victims and survivors across the country.
Last December, this Commission’s Interim Report claimed that up to 655,000 children, young people and vulnerable adults in State and faith-based care during 1950-2019, and up to 250,000 children, young people and vulnerable adults were abused. That is equivalent to nearly 40 percent of those in care being abused across New Zealand between 1950 and 2019. Yet even this number is held to be a conservative estimate based on the reluctance of victims and survivors to come forward and report the abuse that affected them.
This interim report also determined that redress processes have not worked for many survivors. Those processes tended to focus on financial implications rather than providing wellbeing and compensation to survivors. This has understandably created anguish and further trauma for survivors.
According to the New Zealand Royal Commission, abuse in care is estimated to cost an individual NZ$857,000 over the course of their lifetime; the cost to society for abuse in care between 1950-2019 is up to $217 billion.
The final report of this Commission is due in January 2023.
For more information, contact SNAP New Zealand leader Dr. Christopher Longhurst.