[News Release] Faith-based Institutions to Front Royal Commission on Redress for Abuse

Scoop [Wellington, New Zealand]

March 4, 2021

By Abuse in Care Royal Commission Inquiry

Witnesses for faith-based institutions, including Archbishops and a Cardinal, will give evidence before the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry this month, on their processes for resolving historic and current abuse claims.

Phase 2 of the Faith-based Redress hearing runs from 15 to 29 March. Phase 1 of the hearing was held late last year and focussed on the experience of survivors in seeking redress (such as compensation, counselling, an apology etc) for abuse and/or neglect in the care of faith-based institutions.

The faith-based institution witnesses – which include representatives from the highest levels within New Zealand’s Salvation Army, and Anglican and Catholic Churches – will be responding to survivors’ evidence and outlining past and current Redress policies and processes.

See hearing timetable and witness summaries below.

COVID INFORMATION: The Covid-19 alert level at the time of this public hearing will determine whether or not it is open to the public. Auckland is currently at Alert Level 3 and if this level remains then the hearing will be postponed. However, at Alert Level 2, the hearing will proceed, but with no public and restricted media. At Alert level 1, the hearing will be open to the public and we will have appropriate health and safety measures in place to ensure the health and safety of the public and participants. The hearing will be livestreamed at both Alert Level 1 & 2.

Hearing location: Level 2, 414 Khyber Pass Road, Newmarket, Auckland 1023 (entry off Kingdon Street).

Faith-based Redress public hearing timetable and witness summaries
*Times are subject to change

Monday 15 March

Opening statement – The Salvation Army

Colonel Gerry Walker
Colonel Gerry Walker is the Chief Secretary of The Salvation Army in New Zealand. He has been in full time ministry with The Salvation Army since 2002 in a variety of roles. In 2018, he was appointed to The Salvation Army’s Royal Commission Working Group. In his evidence, Colonel Walker apologises to survivors of abuse in a Salvation Army care context. He outlines the redress process, which is primarily led by Murray Houston, provides an overview of the constitutional structure of The Salvation Army and explains The Salvation Army’s policies for dealing with abuse allegations.

Tuesday 16th March

Murray Houston
Murray Houston is the Commercial Manager for The Salvation Army and the Manager of the Royal Commission Response. Mr Houston has been employed by The Salvation Army since 1999. He is a “lay” or “civilian” employee and is not affiliated with The Salvation Army congregation. Since 2000, Mr Houston has had primary responsibility within The Salvation Army for dealing with claims and the redress process. In his evidence, he provides a summary of claims made to The Salvation Army and an overview to the approach of these claims prior to, and post 2003, when there was an increase in claims. His evidence explains the process in place for responding to claims since 2003. In his supplementary statement, Mr Houston responds to some of the evidence given by survivors in Phase 1 of the Faith-based hearing.

Wednesday 17th March

Murray Houston (continued)
11.45am (approx.)

Opening statements – The Anglican Church and relevant Core Participants
1.00pm (approx.)

Bishop Bay
The Rt Reverend Ross Bay has been the Bishop of Auckland since 2010 having been ordained as a priest in 1989. In his evidence Bishop Ross apologises to survivors. His evidence sets out the history of the Diocese of Auckland, the processes for dealing with complaints and claims of abuse and the relationship between the Diocese and various schools and trust boards. Bishop Ross also addresses estimated claims and outcomes from Church processes.

Thursday 18th March

Bishop Bay (continued)
11.20am (approx.)

Bishop Carrell
The Rt Reverend Peter Carrell has been the Bishop of Christchurch since 2019 having been ordained as a priest in 1987. In his evidence Bishop Peter provides an apology to survivors, gives some of the history of the Diocese of Christchurch, explains the relationship between the Diocese and various schools and trust boards and gives detail of the procedures for dealing with complaints and claims of abuse as well as how the Church attempts to educate clergy on issues of safety.

Friday 19th March

Archbishop Richardson
The Most Reverend Philip Richardson has been a bishop since 1999 and since 2008 has been a Bishop of the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki. Since 2013 he has been the Archbishop of New Zealand and one of the primates of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia/Te Hahi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Niu Tireni, ki Nga Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa. In his evidence Archbishop Philip outlines the history and unique three-tikanga structure of the Anglican Church. He discusses in detail the disciplinary processes of the Church over time, some of the issues the Church confronts when it comes to redress and the nature of ordination and liability. He also discusses some of the individual cases.

Monday 22nd March

Archbishop Tamihere, Archbishop Fereimi Cama and Archbishop Richardson (the Primates)
The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia/Te Hahi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Niu Tireni, ki Nga Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa has a joint primacy shared between the three tikanga of the Church (Māori, Pasifika and Pakeha). In this statement, the Primates offer an apology from the Church to those abused while in the care of the Church and its affiliated institutions, provide an update on recent changes to disciplinary canons, provide a contribution on matters of tikanga and recommit to assist the Commission in its work.

3.30pm (approx.)

Opening Statement – Catholic Church and any relevant Core Participants
Tuesday 23 March


Reverend Dr. Thomas P. Doyle via Audio Visual Link from the United States
Dr Doyle is an ordained Catholic priest, cannon lawyer and addictions therapist. Since 1982, he has been involved in the issue of clergy sexual abuse, beginning with his work as the staff canon lawyer at the Vatican Embassy in Washington D.C. His involvement includes: pastoral care of victims and their families, canonical defence advocate for accused clerics, consultant to dioceses and religious communities and as an expert witness and consultant in civil and criminal cases throughout the United States and other countries. In 2006, he co-authored the book Sex, Priests and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church’s 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse. He served as a consultant and expert in several of the investigatory commissions in Ireland and, in 2017, as an expert witness before the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Dr Doyle’s Submission firstly sets out the scope and recent history of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, how canon law applies and how the Catholic Church has responded. He sets this in context by explaining the governance and structure of the Catholic Church and the nature of Catholic priesthood. The second part of Dr Doyle’s Submission explores how the Catholic Church’s institutional system enables abuse. He also describes the ‘trauma bond’ and spiritual damage experienced by survivors of Catholic clergy abuse. Dr Doyle’s Submission ends with an analysis of why the Catholic Church has failed to adequately respond to the issue of clergy sexual abuse.

2:30pm (approx.)

Br Peter Horide
Br Horide is a religious brother in the Marist Brothers. He has been the Professional Standards Delegate for the Marist Brothers since 2018 and is responsible for responding to complaints of abuse made to the Marist Brothers and engaging in any redress processes. Brother Horide’s evidence concerns the history and status of the Marist Brothers in New Zealand, and how the Marist Brothers have responded to complaints of abuse.

Wednesday 24 March

Br Peter Horide (continued)
11:30am (approx.)

Virginia Noonan
Virginia Noonan is the Director of the National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS). NOPS responds to complaints of sexual abuse involving clergy and members of religious congregations and oversees the Catholic Church’s safeguarding policies and practices in New Zealand. Virginia was appointed Director in 2018 and between May 2017 and January 2018 was appointed by the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch as their Safeguarding Coordinator. Her evidence outlines how NOPS operationalises the safeguarding and harm-prevention programmes and offers reflections on the survivor evidence given at the Faith-based Redress Hearing.

Thursday 25 March

Fr Timothy Duckworth
Fr Timothy Duckworth is the Provincial of the New Zealand province of the Society of Mary (often known as the Marist Fathers and Brothers) and has been in the role since the 1st of February 2020. He has been a priest for 38 years and has served in a variety of ministries and apostolates including teaching. His evidence outlines the Society of Mary’s approach to redress, in particular the Society’s Sexual Abuse Protocol Committee and their current approach to redress under A Path to Healing.

Friday 26 March

Cardinal John Dew
Cardinal John Dew is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington and Metropolitan of New Zealand. He is also the president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. Cardinal Dew’s evidence concerns the diocesan approach to redress, the Catholic Church’s national approach to redress, and developments in redress from the Vatican.

Monday 29 March

Closing addresses – all Core Participants
Tuesday 30 March
Reserve day (TBC)

About the Abuse in Care Inquiry
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is investigating the abuse and neglect that happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care from 1950 and 1999. It may also consider experiences of abuse or neglect outside these dates. After completing its investigations, it will make recommendations to the Governor General on how New Zealand can better care for children, young people and vulnerable adults.