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To: Hon. Andrew Little, Minister of Justice
Tell the government to include ALL survivors of institutional abuse in Royal Commission
Justice Minister, Andrew Little is convening the first substantial Justice Summit, Hapaitia Te Oranga Tangata, and review of the justice system for 30 years.
This is a great opportunity for NZ to address the criminal abuse of children in institutions, including those in churches. It is a significant part of the ‘broken justice system’ Minister Little says we must ‘have the guts to look at honestly’ so ‘we can have safer Kiwi communities’.
We are extremely concerned many institutional abuse survivors will be denied justice again if they aren’t included in the Royal Commission. This will also limit the possibility of preventing the criminal abuse of children in the future.
Send an email now to ask Minister Little to make the Inquiry inclusive, to seek justice and take the opportunity to prevent future abuse in institutions in NZ.
Why is this important?
The final terms of reference for the Royal Commission are about to be announced.
The Royal Commission has been set up initially to investigate survivors abused in state care up until 1999. We support those survivors and want them to have justice. But we know this would exclude the large group who were abused in the care of other institutions, especially churches, and survivors after this date.
These people went through the same experience and deserve justice too.
We have many survivors in New Zealand that were abused by members of their church. The abusers have been hidden and protected by the churches, while the survivors have had to deal with the fall out of their childhood abuse. Alcohol, drugs, violence, family issues and failed relationships are common outcomes. A disproportionate number of survivors end up in prison while their abusers walk free.
At the moment, these survivors' only option is to expose themselves to the further trauma by reporting their abuse to the Police or returning to the church which allowed the abuse to happen. Often nothing can be done because the burden of proof is so high.
It has been suggested that churches could run their own inquiry. This would be impossible. Survivors would have to return to the institutions where they were abused and traumatised. Churches have a history of protecting abusers at the expense of victims.
The Royal Commission was set up so state abuse survivors had a safe place to report their abuse and seek justice. We want the same for other survivors of institutional abuse.
The Royal Commission can also use its power to hold institutions to account and recommend changes to prevent future abuse. An inclusive inquiry will give the opportunity to prevent future abuse in NZ institutions.
This is supported by the network of survivors of abuse in church based institutions, and their supporters.
Church's failure 'serious' https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/churchs-failure-serious
Inquiry into abuse in state care https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/inquiry-abuse-state-care