WHANGANUI (NEW ZEALAND)
Scoop [Wellington, New Zealand]
August 12, 2022
Friday, 12 August 2022, 11:25 am
Press Release: SNAP
A sexual abuse survivor group SNAP says the Government’s decision to allow faith-based institutions like the Catholic Church to continue providing redress to survivors would just re-traumatise Catholic Church survivors.
SNAP’s national leader, Christopher Longhurst, says SNAP believes the Church office tasked with providing redress to church survivors has not followed its own principles and procedures in the Church’s protocol “A Path To Healing” to settle sexual abuse cases.
Dr Longhurst says the Church’s National Office For Professional Standards (NOPS) appears to be using the protocol to weed out offenders rather than providing a compassionate and fair response to their reported traumas as promised in the protocol.
Dr Longhurst says survivors have complained to SNAP that their redress cases have been mishandled by the NOPS office and many have felt re-traumatised by the Church’s redress process.
“The SNAP Board and Executive Leadership Group is now asking the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference to take immediate action to establish an urgent, independent, and transparent review of the administration and handling of APTH complaints by NOPS, in consultation and collaboration with SNAP Aotearoa and our survivor members.”
“This is now urgent following the Government’s announcement that faith-based institutions like the Catholic Church will be precluded from early and urgent compensation payments for elderly, infirm and very ill abuse survivors.”
“It’s questionable whether the Government’s redress scheme will be implemented even before the next election as Minister Chris Hipkins says it will take time and is a complex task and that the Government will consult with survivor groups in 2023 before making final decisions.”
“The mistreatment of survivors by the Catholic Church was signalled by the Royal Commission’s Interim Report, December 2021. It also noted several deficiencies in the administration of the Church’s redress protocol. However, there was no subsequent sign of any intention by Church leaders to review this situation in collaboration with survivors.”
“It is not just SNAP complaining!”
Dr Longhurst says SNAP has written to the committee that oversee NOPS and to the New Zealand Catholic Bishops with its deep misgivings about the Church’s redress office but has not received any real assurance it’s concerns will be fully reviewed.