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State abuse inquiry fails to protect all survivors - Shine

“NZ royal commission into historical abuse fails to protect all survivors” says shine lawyers abuse law manager, Lisa Flynn.

New Zealand law firm Shine Lawyers, in partnership with its Australian Abuse team, strongly supports the establishment of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care, commencing in New Zealand. The local law firm, however, has urged the Commission to consider ALL survivors of abuse in their Terms of Reference and not just those in State Care.
Submissions for the Terms of Reference close on the 30th of April 2018.
“All children deserve a safe and happy childhood and any form of abuse of children whether in state care, in other institutions or outside of institutional contexts is a gross violation of a child’s rights,” said Shine Lawyers’ Abuse Law Manager, Lisa Flynn.

In the NZ firm’s submission to the Commission, the abuse team raised the argument that the full extent of abuse of children in New Zealand will not be known unless an inquiry includes all abuse of children and is not limited to abuse within state care.

“The problems faced by survivors of abuse are the responsibility of our entire society. We therefore need to be responsible of eradicating abuse from all sectors of society, not just those under State care” said Flynn.

In response to this Commission, Shine Lawyers have prepared a submission, appealing to the Commission not to limit the scope of inquiry for fear that those excluded from making submissions, will feel re-traumatized by said, exclusion.

“If the Government truly intends to take responsibility for the state’s role in the abuse of children, it should not take such a selective approach to the Inquiry into child abuse,” said Flynn.

“We need to see institutions who protected the abuser held to account for their failure to take ownership of their duty of care.”

Justice Peter McClellan of the Royal Commission into institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia stated:

The societal norm that ‘children should be seen by not heard’, which prevailed for unknown decades, provided the opportunity for some adults to abuse the power that their relationship with the child gave them. When the required silence of the child was accompanied by an unquestioning belief by adults in the integrity of the carer for the child the power imbalance was entrenched to the inevitable detriment of many children.[1]
Mr. Wayne Ace-Kirker has waited for justice for more than 50 years.
He was a state ward in 1958 and for 13 years, endured ‘hellish’ treatment.
In that time Wayne was locked up because he was an unwanted child. He was locked up without criminality in various institutions across New Zealand (Wellington, Levin, and twice in Auckland Owairaka).
“I was not a criminal but was treated like one from the age of six, then 8, then again at the ages of 13 and 16. I was subjected to the most horrendous, unjustified acts without provocation. What I went through was horrendous, frightening and inhumane,” said Mr. Ace-Kirker.

Mr. Ace-Kirker is glad to finally see a Royal Commission in place to investigate the abuse that he, and many like him experienced.

“The Royal Commission is such an important investigative body because it’s independent. It’s the only possibility that we will ever have to hold the state to account and for us to be able to move on and move forward with our lives.”

“This is vitally important to ensure that future children don’t go through what we experienced. This Royal Commission inquiry is about change. The Commission must bring this abuse to an end for future generations,” said Mr. Ace-Kirker.

Approximately two years ago, Mr. Ace-Kirker was given compensation that was grossly inadequate for the pain he endured. He signed under duress to end potential years of litigation and the re-victimisation that the judicial process can sometimes subject victims to.
“It’s time all victims had a voice!”

“I’m speaking out for all of those who can’t articulate or are too damaged to speak up. The Royal Commission gives us a chance to close this chapter of our lives and burn the book too. What happened to us, is not our fault and it’s time that was recognized.” said Mr. Ace-Kirker.

Shine Lawyers encourage survivors to come forward with their submissions.


The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care was established by the Government on 1 February 2018 with Sir Anand Satyanand appointed Chair.

The Commission will listen to stories about the experiences of people in state care and examine ways to stop further abuse.

Many victims in state care are of Maori or Pasifika backgrounds

The Inquiry was requested by The Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Committee

The Commission will be conducted under the Inquiries Act 2013

The Commission is expected to take three years

Submissions on the Terms of Reference close on 30th April 2018.

Once Terms of Reference are gazetted, the Royal Commission can begin hearing evidence

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