State care inquiry

Written By: - Date published: 1:22 pm, February 16th, 2017 - 6 comments
Categories: child abuse, child welfare - Tags:

RNZ has been doing some great work on abuse in State Care, since Aaron Smale’s great initial report in November last year.

The story has actually been bubbling along for quite some time below the surface – in 2009 the UN Committee Against Torture raised concerns about how New Zealand handled historic abuse claims. In 2011 the Human Rights Commission launched a review.

That review, which recommended a broader inquiry, was buried by Chris Finlayson.  But there seems a large amount of consensus by those working in the sector that a wider inquiry is needed.

The Human Right Commission, and as well as former commissioners feel an inquiry is needed.  The Race Relations Commissioner, The EEO Commissioner, the Iwi Leaders Forum and the Disability Rights Commissioner all co-signed an open letter published on Monday.  Social justice advocate Kim Workman, who worked for nearly 20 years as a policeman and was once head of Corrections, has also signed the letter.

Anne Tolley says the now-defunct Listening Service did more good than an inquiry would.  The judge who did that service disagrees.

Tolley also says the fast-track compensation scheme is providing restitution, but those who have received it said it was far too little and was a muzzle that they were railroaded into.  Many of the survivors have limited literacy as a result of their terrible state care experience, so are befuddled by the lengthy legal letter they are sent to sign to get their compensation.  They do not have highfalutin legal friends to explain it to them.

There are a lot of survivors keen on an inquiry.

There seems like there is a lot to learn, and a lot that needs sunlight on it.  The terrible discrimination that sees Maori as 60% of those in care (Canada is getting justice for children from First Nations forced into care).  The high number of gang members, criminals and high profile murders who have come from state care.  How much is the state responsible for crime?  How many broken lives can we prevent in future?  Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

As reported on RNZ:

Disability Rights commissioner, Paul Gibson, says the government would not need to start an inquiry from scratch, as a lot of the work had already been done.  He said the inquiry would be an investment, and cost should not get in the way of justice.

A formal apology should also be part of the process.  Thousands of lives ruined deserve nothing less, as well as the promise that this won’t happen to another generation.

6 comments on “State care inquiry”

  1. Ethica 1

    Bill English and his Attorney General are probably terrified that the Catholic church will have some investigation of its historic self to do if an inquiry was held.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 1.1

      If the full extent of abuse in treatment or care were revealed, the truth would be clear – that there has been a systemic cover up of this type of abuse that is even bigger than the cover up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

  2. AsleepWhileWalking 2

    UGH. Abusers insulated by their own government employers. Payout amounts are an insult to the victims and in no way reflective of the damage done, even when you take into consideration we are in NZ.

    The only place to start is a Ministerial enquiry. Please stop scuttling this!

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

    I’m sure National wants to repeat it as they always come out rich and they just don’t care about anyone else.

  4. One Two 4

    Systematically throughout ‘the west’ the same story has played, and is playing out. It is a sinister story which is so unimaginable, it brings into question the very foundations of human history

    There is a bond which enables and connects the same practitioners around the globe and it still holds the levers of power

    Exposure is imminent!

  5. Treetop 5

    I am left wondering how up to date and accessible social welfare, MSD, police and court files are when it comes to why or why not children were removed?

    Looking at abuse in welfare homes is only part of the ugly history of social welfare and MSD.

    An inquiry would hopefully look into the workings of and the decision making by the courts, police, social welfare and MSD.

    It is evident that there are some serious failings spanning many decades which occurred by agencies whose responsibility it was to protect and keep children safe.

    Having to live with what was done by those whom failed to protect a child, there is a high price which some are still paying.

    To deny a group the choice of the breaking of silence is to deny them the justice which is due. The government does not have the right to do this.

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