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The Crown Response Unit coordinates the Government’s response to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry.(external link) The information below describes our current work programme as we respond to the Royal Commission's redress report(external link) published in December 2021 and its recommendations.
If you would like to stay up to date on our work programme, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Pānui' in the email subject line.
The Royal Commission’s findings and recommendations published in the December 2021 report on redress(external link) focused on transforming redress across four strands:
The Minister for the Public Service proactively released the following Cabinet papers outling the Government's response:
Consideration of civil litigation settings (including both limitation and ACC bars) is led by the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (as the agency responsible for ACC policy).
The high-level design of the new redress system is being developed by a design group supported by an advisory group drawn from diverse survivor communities. Information about apppointments to the groups is here.
The Redress Design Group will produce high-level design proposals and report to the Minister for the Public Service. The high-level proposals will cover:
The Cabinet Papers related to the work of these groups has been proactively released here.
The government is working on three projects to improve support for survivors of abuse in care while a new independent redress system is being designed:
Work is also underway on preparing a national apology to abuse in care survivors.
This work is being coordinated by the Crown Response Unit and guided by previous engagement with survivors, including the views of hundreds of survivors that informed the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry’s interim report on redress(external link), released in December 2021. Additional advice and guidance from survivors, experts and others will also be sought.
On Tuesday 13 December 2022 the government announced the first set of rapid payments by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), which has about 3000 historic claims – more than 90 per cent of all the current historical claims being processed by four government agencies. The Ministry is prioritising rapid payments for survivors who are seriously ill or unwell, aged over 70, or have waited the longest to get their claims considered.
Rapid payments are not part of the new, independent redress system – they are being run by existing claims agencies, Ministry of Social Development, Oranga Tamariki, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health.
Budget 2023 funding allowed MSD to continue resolving historic claims while a new independent redress system is being established. The Government is investing $58.4 million in 2023/24 to resolve a further 1,000 claims of historic abuse of people while in the care of Child, Youth and Family (or its predecessors).
This funding will support both MSD's individual claims assessment process and the rapid payments process that was set up in response to the Royal Commission's recommendations. Since October 2022, over 75% of claimants who have identified their preferred settlement pathway have opted for a rapid payment.
To find out more please contact the Ministry of Social Development: 0800 631 127 or visit its website.(external link)
In response to the Royal Commission’s recommendation to provide an avenue for survivors to share their experiences of abuse in care the government established the Survivor Experiences Service(external link).
The service will run until a new, permanent redress system is in place.
The service is housed within Te Tari Taiwhenua – Department of Internal Affairs and will be guided by an independent Board to provide a safe, supportive, confidential place for survivors of abuse in care, and their whānau, to share their experiences.
Survivors and whānau can contact the Survivor Experiences Service to organise a time and place for them to share their experiences:
Visit Home | Survivor Experiences Service(external link) for more information.
The Royal Commission found that many survivors had difficulty accessing their records. The issues included lengthy delays; or getting incomplete or heavily redacted information.
Government officials are working with survivors and experts on some immediate improvements to how survivors access their records.
Shared redaction guidance has been developed for agencies and non-state organisations to improve consistency when making redactions to records to be provided to individuals. The goal is to improve a person’s access to their own information, while being clear when information has been redacted to protect other’s privacy.
Online information has also been developed explaining the records and redactions process.
Organisations that have already indicated their intention to use the guidance include: Oranga Tamariki; Ministry of Social Development – Historic Claims Unit; Ministry of Education – Sensitive Claims; Ministry of Health, Whaikaha Ministry of Disabled People, and the Methodist Church Archives of New Zealand.
The Royal Commission recommended the Crown and relevant faith-based organisations should publicly acknowledge and apologise for the tūkino, or abuse, inflicted and suffered after it has delivered its final report. It also recommended some groups, including Māori who were over-represented in State care, should also receive specific apologies.
The Crown Response Unit has started working on Crown apologies and is involving survivor groups, tikanga experts and representatives from other communities impacted by abuse in care.
Further recommendations relating to apologies may be made by the Royal Commission, and these will be carefully considered.