Royal Commission of Inquiry scope expanded
Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
MP for Mt Albert
Hon Tracey Martin
Minister of Internal Affairs
12 November 2018
Cabinet has today agreed to expand the scope of a proposed inquiry into the abuse of children in state care, to include the abuse of children in the care of faith-based institutions.
The Inquiry will be called the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-Based Institutions, to reflect its expanded scope. Its terms of reference were released this afternoon.
“Today paves the way for us to confront a dark chapter of our national history by acknowledging what happened to people in state care, and in the care of faith-based institutions, and to learn the lessons for the future,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“It was critical we got the Royal Commission right and the scope and purpose of this Inquiry has been carefully considered.
The Royal Commission received over 400 submissions on the draft Terms of Reference.
“Extending the scope so the Inquiry could look into both state care and in the care of faith-based institutions was one of the most strongly argued issues in the consultation process,” Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin said.
“In broadening the scope we nevertheless remain committed to fulfilling the expectations of those who sought an inquiry into state care.
“We must learn from the mistakes of the past, and take responsibility for them. That’s why we have asked that the first interim report of the inquiry be focussed on state care. That will be reported back by the end of 2020. A separate report will be focussed on the abuse of children in faith based institutions.
“We recognise the seriousness of abuse and confirm our commitment to considering future measures to help protect all children, young people, and vulnerable adults.
Cabinet also confirmed the four other members of the Inquiry to serve with the chair Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand: Ali’imuamua Sandra Alofivae, MNZM; Dr Andrew Erueti; Paul Gibson; and Judge Coral Shaw.
“I am confident that the Royal Commission has the right mix of integrity, mana and credibility to carry out the difficult job of hearing the survivors’ stories and identifying issues, including future issues, that we need to address,” Tracey Martin said.
“The Royal Commission’s approach and findings will be informed by victim and survivor experiences through a combination of confidential listening sessions, formal hearings, and engagement in other settings.”
The Inquiry has a budget of $78.85 million over four years, which includes more than $15 million to help participants by providing counselling and related support. The Historic Claims Unit, which processes compensation claims, has been asked to cooperate with, and support any requests made by, the Commission.
The Inquiry will be able to begin hearing evidence from January 2019.A final report containing the Royal Commission’s findings and recommendations will be submitted to the Governor-General in January 2023.