Leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand are calling on Anglican institutions and organisations to support survivors of abuse, their whānau or legal representatives who have decided to share their stories of seeking redress from faith-based institutions.
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry has announced it will hold a public hearing in late November to investigate the adequacy of how the Salvation Army, Catholic and Anglican churches have responded to abuse survivors’ claims for redress in the past.
"Our first priority in this matter is to support the survivors of abuse in care and their whānau by calling on all Anglican groups to participate fully in the work of the Royal Commission." said Archbishop Don Tamihere and Archbishop Philip Richardson.
"As followers of Jesus we are called to first take the side of those who suffer oppression or injustice, and especially those who have suffered abuse perpetrated by persons or organisations that should have offered them care.
"The Royal Commission is seeking to hear from survivors who have sought redress from our institutions in the past. We believe it is critically important that the experience of those survivors is heard and we support them in sharing their experience with the Royal Commission.”
The Royal Commission wants to hear from survivors or people with knowledge of a claim of abuse in faith-based care – which could be the family of a survivor, a legal representative, a professional, or defendant in any claim. Survivors or their representatives can speak to the Inquiry on redress filed directly to the church or through the civil courts or Human Rights’ Tribunal.
The Inquiry is considering redress processes connected to abuse that happened to children, young people or vulnerable adults in faith-based care between 1950 -1999, but may consider cases outside those dates.
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry wants to hear survivors’ experience of redress in the form of:
• financial settlement, and
• non-monetary processes (such as an apology, counselling, etc.)
The Inquiry has also asked for suggestions on how redress processes could be improved or made more effective in future.
The Royal Commission acknowledges the disproportionate number of Māori who have been in care and particularly wants to hear from Māori about their experiences of faith-based institutions' redress processes. The Inquiry has also specifically encouraged Pasifika people to come forward to report on their experiences of seeking redress, and people with disabilities or mental illness.
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry hearing on redress from church institutions will take place from 23 November – 11 December 2020.
Anyone interested in providing information to the Royal Commission on redress from a faith-based institution who would like more advice on how to go about that can contact 0800 222 727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find the faith-based redress hearing announcement on the Royal Commission of Inquiry website here.
Survivors or their representatives can send their experiences of claiming redress from church institutions in writing to: The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry, PO Box 10071, The Terrace, Wellington 6143.