Information Gathering Project (IGP) Fact Sheet

Te Rōpū Tautoko [Wellington, New Zealand]

February 1, 2022

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As part of the process of its Information Gathering Project (IGP) and data requests from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care (Commission), Te Rōpū Tautoko (Tautoko) has consolidated the information provided by Catholic entities into this fact sheet.

The work has involved many people over two years from many organisations.

The Commission has been provided this information and it is expected that they will be creating their own datasets and conclusions from it.

The IGP included three phases:

  1. Seeking, in 2019, high level information from Catholic entities on institutions they were involved in, and documents held in relation to the period 1950-1999
  2. Collating detailed information from Catholic entities on institutions considered in-scope for the Royal Commission. This work was undertaken in late 2019 and 2020.
  3. In 2020 and 2021 requests were made to Catholic entities to provide summaries on reports of abuse made to them. The initial responses were provided to the Commission and discussed in the Commission’s Redress Hearing, alongside statistics from the Anglican Church and Salvation Army.

The data was then requested again, in a different format, for all reports of abuse up to 30 June 2021. This information, matched against records of clergy and members of religious congregations1 who served in Aotearoa New Zealand, provides much of the following fact sheet.

The second half of 2021 was taken up with collating and analysing the information provided in phases 1-3, seeking additional information or asking information to be updated where needed, and providing to the Commission the results of the project in the format requested.

The definition of abuse used in the IGP is that used by the Commission, and includes physical, sexual, and emotional or psychological abuse, and neglect. Failure to act on reports and facilitating abuse were also included in the categorisation of reports of abuse.

The data provided reflects the total number of reports of alleged abuse, whether substantiated by an external or internal investigation process or not. Reports of abuse include only those reports that church entities have records of.

In addition, individuals who have experienced harm may not have approached a church entity to report or disclose abuse or the individual or organisations they did report to may not have provided this information to a church entity.

Therefore, the actual number of instances of abuse will be different to the documentary record. However, the results of the IGP process give a snapshot of the extent of abuse reported to the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand as at 30 June 2021.

Numbers of diocesan clergy and members of congregations

Total numbers of diocesan clergy and religious who were present in Aotearoa New Zealand since 1950 include:

Diocesan clergy 21,274
Male religious 32,286
Female religious 44,247

Reports of Abuse

The total number of reports of alleged abuse held by church entities relating to the period 1950 to 2021 meeting the Commission’s definition is 1,680.

The total number of individuals recorded as reporting abuse is 1,122. Of these:

  • 861 individuals reported abuse against them by 1 individual.
  • 261 individuals reported abuse by more than 1 individual.

Summary of reports of abuse by harm type:

Sexual harm reported1,01983513351
Non-sexual harm reported4213921217
Harm type unclear2401221999

Reports of abuse were made against:

Diocesan clergy378(182 respondents or 14% of all clergy over the period)
Male religious599(187 respondents or 8%)
Female religious258(120 respondents or 3%)
Other5138(103 respondents)
Unnamed alleged perpetrator6307 

Reports of abuse related to the following decades when abuse started:

Date not held or recorded229

Respondents to reports

Of the total number of reports of abuse,1,296 are attributable to a named diocesan clergy, religious, or lay person.

The result is a total of 592 respondents to a report of abuse.

  • 393 named respondents have a single report made against them.
  • 143 respondents have 2-4 reports.
  • 40 respondents have 5-9.
  • 10 respondents have 10-14.
  • 6 respondents have 15 or more reports against them.
    • These 6 individuals together account for 181 reports or 10.8% of all reports of abuse reported.
    • One individual accounts for 74 reports or 4.4% of all reports of abuse made to Church entities.


370 Catholic schools have been or are still open since 1950.

  • Of these 69 have had associated boarding facilities (hostels).
  • 235 catholic schools are currently open.
  • A total of 29 different church authorities were involved in staffing, managing, or proprietorship of the schools in the period. Often more than one church authority was involved in a school performing different roles (i.e., a congregation staffing a school and a bishop as proprietor)
  • The largest educators were the Sisters of Mercy, involved in 106 schools, and the diocese of Auckland with 102.

428 Catholic parishes have been in existence since 1950.

  • Many of these parishes had and have multiple churches or sites.
  • Different congregations with members who are priests are often asked to staff a parish. 19 congregations have been involved in over 150 parishes, alongside diocesan clergy.
  • With the ongoing processes of amalgamation and reorganisation there are 193 parishes in existence today.

A further 67 ‘care institutions’ run by church authorities that are in scope for the Commission Terms of Reference were also identified.

  • These included orphanages, hostels (non-school), social service agencies, residential care facilities etc,
  • All 6 dioceses, 17 congregations, and one lay association (St Vincent de Paul) have been involved with these institutions.
  • The largest providers of care have been the Auckland and Wellington dioceses along with the Sisters of Mercy.

Of the total number of reports of abuse:

  • 687 relate to educational facilities
  • 425 to residential care
  • 228 to parishes
  • 122 to other locations, and
  • 219 are unknown, as to where the alleged abuse occurred.

239 reports (or 14% of reports) relate to St Joseph’s Orphanage and Nazareth House (Christchurch) run by the Sisters of Nazareth.

  • Half of those reports do not identify a respondent.

236 reports of abuse (also approximately 14%) of all reports relate to Marylands Special School and the Hebron Trust (both Christchurch) both run by the St John of God Brothers.

  • The 3 most prolific offenders worked at Marylands, and the most prolific offender went on to establish the Hebron Trust.

Payments by church authorities

A total of $16.8 million (NZD) has been paid directly to approximately 470 survivors in pastoral or ex-gratia payments by Catholic church entities.

Of the total:

  • $8 million (NZD) has been paid to survivors by the St John of God Brothers.
  • Nearly $2 million (NZD) has been paid by the Sisters of Nazareth.

In addition, Church entities have provided paid counselling and other therapeutic and social support. Some other in-kind support has been provided such as payment of school fees or the purchase of household items. These are not included in the total above.

Next steps

The Commission will analyse the data. Te Rōpū Tautoko will work collaboratively with the

Commission as it requests clarifications and looks to present information publicly.

The data will inform the actions of Tautoko and church leaders informing safeguarding and redress processes with survivors. Te Rōpū Tautoko and church entities will continue to update the dataset as reports are made and refine the data as more information is provided.

Contact:      David McLoughlin || Communications Adviser, NZ Catholic Bishops Conference 021 611 052 ||


1 Religious institutes and societies of apostolic life are entities in the Catholic Church such as orders, congregations, and societies. Their members (called religious priests, brothers, nuns, sisters etc) take vows and generally live in community with fellow members. For the purposes of the Royal Commission, due to the possible confusion with the word institution, Tautoko have chosen to call these groups ‘congregations’. Their members are known as ‘religious’.

2 Includes those clergy incardinated (accepted into or a member) in a NZ diocese and present in Aotearoa New Zealand and those on loan from an overseas diocese.

3 Total of relevant current members of the Congregational Leaders Conference of Aotearoa New Zealand (CLCANZ) only. CLCANZ is a peak body for the leaders of congregation to gather together, share information and run shared projects. All congregations in Aotearoa New Zealand are encouraged to join CLCANZ. Congregations without a current presence in NZ had small numbers of additional religious. In the case of the Jesuits and Picpus Fathers (both congregations no longer present in Aotearoa), their members have been included due to their being reports of abuse data available for them. ‘Male religious’ refers to those brothers and clergy who are members of congregations under the authority of a congregational leader, rather than clergy who are members of a diocese under a bishop.

4 As above – Total of relevant current members of the Congregational Leaders Conference of Aotearoa New Zealand (CLCANZ). Female religious refer to sisters and nuns who are members of congregations under the authority of a congregational leader.

5 Lay staff/volunteers, other residents, those in training, and those named but religious status unknown.

6 Unknown, unidentifiable etc