Editorial: Government’s proposed abuse inquiry doesn’t go far enough

The Press [Wellington, New Zealand]

January 29, 2018

The Catholic Church in New Zealand and abuse survivors are upset the goverment may not be expanding an inquiry into abuse of children in state care to include faith-based institutions.

It is disappointing that a government inquiry into past abuse of children will be limited to those cases which originated in state care. An opportunity to address systemic abuse in non-government institutions, and particularly religious organisations, is likely to be lost.

The inquiry is one of the Government’s pledges for its first 100 days in office and will be announced shortly. However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already said that inquiries will begin with “the harm that we (the State) had direct responsibility for”.

Victims’ groups have called on the Government to follow Australia’s example and include non-governmental organisations such as churches, charities, community groups and sports clubs in the inquiry. For now, at least, the Government appears to be ruling this out.

Ardern has said that the independent chair of the inquiry will have a remit to investigate beyond state institutions, but suggested this would happen when a child had been placed with other organisations as a result of decisions made in state care.

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