Editorial: Abuse in state or church custody is an abomination

NZ Herald

December 18, 2020

Could there be a crueller phrase for the plight of the estimated 250,000 children, young people and vulnerable adults who have suffered from “abuse in care” over the past 50 years?

Such a contradiction only emphasises how a void of care was tolerated and even promulgated for so long.

Our Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions has conclusively proved our experience mirrors that of overseas. We are not unique but we have an opportunity now to lead the world in redress and rehabilitation.

The release of the inquiry’s draft report, Tāwharautia: Pūrongo o te Wā, this week described the key themes and common issues from the experiences of survivors and witnesses. The sheer scale of neglect, intentional harm and outright violence is nauseating and unbearable.

This is a national tragedy and requires a recovery effort of monumental proportions. To raise our vulnerable and damaged citizens out of this misery must surely be given priority.

This week, the Government said it was considering two changes in areas which concerned survivors – a centralised claims process and reform of the Limitations Act. The inquiry isn’t due to table a final report and recommendations until January 2023 but there is enough in this draft report to act much sooner.

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