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Abuse In Care Inquiry’s Terms Of Reference Changes Finalised

Changes to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference confirm the Inquiry can make recommendations to help avoid future abuse based on the lessons of the past, and to improve redress systems. To inform those recommendations, the Inquiry can continue to hear from survivors about issues and experiences up to the present day.

Survivors have told us they have a clear expectation that sharing their experiences will contribute to ending abuse and neglect in care now and in the future, in both State and faith-based care. Commissioners regularly hear this message from the survivors in public hearings and private sessions.

In April, the Government announced it would narrow the Inquiry’s scope by removing the requirement for it to look at modern day care policy settings.

The Government has now finalised further changes, which:

  • continue the discretion to allow the Royal Commission to consider issues prior to 1950 and after 1999 for the purposes of making recommendations on redress, or to ensure that factors that allowed abuse to occur in care do not persist.
  • remove the Royal Commission’s mandate to examine current frameworks to prevent and respond to abuse in care, including current legislation, policy, rules, standards and practices.

The Royal Commission emphasised to the Government how important it is to survivors that the Inquiry can make recommendations to ensure that factors that have allowed abuse to occur do not persist into the future. This discretion empowers the Royal Commission to identify systemic factors from the past that contributed to abuse and ensure that those same policies, frameworks and mistakes aren’t continuing to be made today.

The Government has also confirmed the change to the Royal Commission’s final reporting date; from January 2023 to 30 June 2023.

The Royal Commission will deliver a report on redress by 1 December this year, with findings about the adequacy of past and present State and faith-based systems to provide redress to survivors for the abuse they suffered in care. It will also include recommendations for the future.

The Royal Commission continues to encourage survivors, particularly from the Māori, Pacific and disabled communities, to come forward to engage with us.

We acknowledge that learning about these changes may be distressing for survivors and we encourage them and/or their whānau to contact us on 0800 222 727 or contact@abuseincare.org.nz.

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