50 signatures reached
To: The Prime Minister and Cabinet
Support survivors abused in care
We support survivors call for the Government to:
1. Set up, under statute, an independent state entity to address the on-going abuse crisis in New Zealand with the authority to receive and investigate complaints of abuse from survivors and others, refer for prosecutions where appropriate, access records, determine appropriate redress that is consistent and reflects the seriousness of the abuse that has happened and the harm it has caused regardless of the institution responsible for their care, and require it to be provided.
2. Immediately provide urgent access to appropriate financial and other resources for all survivors of historical and recent abuse in care in New Zealand require for their recovery, rehabilitation, restoration of mana and remaining life potential.
Why is this important?
We all need to support survivors, provide them the justice they deserve and support setting up an entity with the appropriate authority to address New Zealand’s continuing abuse in care crisis.
In 2018 after huge public pressure, the Labour-led Government launched a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in care. Over three years the Inquiry heard evidence of abuse of children and vulnerable adults in care. As many as a quarter-million tamariki are likely to have been abused over decades.
The evidence showed institutions chose the protection of their reputation and financial assets over help for the victims of abuse in their care, and have created barriers to discourage survivors reporting abuse.
The Government is currently considering the Inquiry's recommendations for providing redress to survivors. However, survivors are not confident they will include the state entity they are asking for or be inclusive of all survivors abused in the care of an institution. It would be a mistake for the Government to set up a body that is not inclusive and separates State abuse from that of other institutions, such as churches or sports clubs.
The Government is ultimately responsible for ensuring children and vulnerable adults in care are protected from harm, no matter which institution cared for them. It is also its responsibility to ensure all survivors of abuse in care be provided with sufficient and appropriate redress.
Cabinet Ministers are right now considering bids for funding for the Budget 2022. We need to let them know they need to provide for survivors. The millions spent on the inquiry need to result in action.
Many of the survivors are ageing, in their 60's, 70's and 80's, and dealing with the physical and mental consequences of their experiences in state care. The impacts from the abuse are significant and lifelong. They cannot wait more years for future offers of support.
Justice for survivors will mean redress and the financial compensation, acknowledgement, apology, and the information they deserve and need. It will also include commitment to the scale of change required to ensure what happened to them does not happen to others.
Survivors need an independent entity to report to so that they no longer have to engage in the re-traumatising process of reporting to the institution that they could not trust to keep them safe. They are also asking it have the authority to hold institutions that care for children accountable to ensure the abuse they suffered does not happen to others.
An independent ‘Entity’ would have the statutory authority to audit and have oversight of the policies and procedures in place in institutions to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm, investigate and hold institutions accountable where they fail, and provide a public audit report to Government with recommendations for further change when required.
The government leaving institutions to deal with the abuse of children in their care has failed. Current systems that exist are not fit for purpose and failing to provide what is needed. They are not accessible to all survivors, and are re-traumatising.
We need an ‘Entity’ based on the principles of:
• Te Tiriti O Waitangi
• Timely access to Redress
• Human Rights and Natural Justice
The public remains unaware of the significant abuse crisis New Zealand is facing.
Survivors are left unacknowledged, struggling, and silenced. Many have no access to redress systems and the barriers to access them are daunting.
They need your support.