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The Crown Response Unit is responsible for coordinating the Government’s response to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry. The information below describes our response as we work through the Royal Commission's interim report and recommendations.

Stay up to date: If you would like to stay up to date on our work programme, please email: contact@abuseinquiryresponse.govt.nz with 'Pānui' in the email subject line.


Survivor-led design of a redress system 

In December 2021, the Royal Commission issued an interim report(external link) that identified failings in the Crown’s approach to providing redress. Based on that report the government committed to develop a new independent, trauma-informed redress system for people abused or neglected in care. This would replace existing claims processes run by government agencies and non-State groups such as faith-based institutions.

It was agreed the high-level design of the new system would be developed by a survivor-led design group supported by an advisory group drawn from diverse survivor communities.

In December 2022, nominations were called for members of these groups. More than 100 nominations were received. The Minister for the Public Service then appointed an independent candidate panel to review the nominations. The members are:

  • Tu Chapman (Chair)
  • Gary Williams
  • Rahui Papa
  • Amanda Hill.

Information about each of the panel members can be found here: Information about Panel members [PDF, 213 KB]

In early 2023, the independent candidate review panel reviewed the nominations and prepared a shortlist of candidates. This was not an easy task given the high calibre of the nominations. The Chair of the panel, Tu Chapman let nominees know the outcome of the review and made herself available to talk to those who were not shortlisted.

The panel has since conducted interviews of the shortlist and will make recommendations to the Minister for the Public Service – who will make the final appointments.


Design Group Chair

A Design Group Chair will be appointed by the Minister for the Public Service, in consultation with the Minister for Māori Crown Relations. As part of the appointment process the Minister for the Public Service will also go through the Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee.

Design Group and Advisory Group members

Members will be appointed to the groups by the Minister for the Public Service, based on advice from the independent review panel and consideration of the appointments by the Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee.

The names of people appointed to the design group, advisory group/s and the Design Group Chair will be published on this page and a Pānui will be issued. If you would like to receive a Pānui update, please email: contact@abuseinquiryresponse.govt.nz with 'Pānui' in the email subject line.

The work of the design and advisory groups

The Redress Design Group will produce high-level design proposals to provide to the Minister for the Public Service. The high-level proposals will cover:

  • comment on the system’s intended principles, purpose, functions, and scope, with the option to outline a strong case for alteration to any of the specific aspects, especially from a Treaty perspective
  • how the system should safely connect with and support survivors to navigate their redress journey – how redress needs to “look and feel” to give survivors confidence in the redress system and to provide them with a safe, accessible, trauma informed, and culturally responsive experience
  • the types and mix of services and supports that should ideally be provided as part of each function
  • feedback on draft apology and payment frameworks, example redress models and proposals prepared by the Crown Response Unit, with a focus on what is needed to support meaningful recognition of the harms people have experienced
  • an outline of the critical issues that will need to be considered in the detailed design and implementation planning, including cost estimates and phasing of implementation.

The Advisory Group or its sub-groups would provide advice and feedback to the Design Group on major elements of the high-level redress design before the Design Group’s final recommendations are made to the Minister. Subject to Cabinet decisions, further detailed design and implementation work will continue after that, with ongoing survivor involvement.

How they will work

The work programme of the Redress Design Group and the Advisory Group will be agreed by the Chair and the members.

Appointed members to both groups will be paid for their time and expenses.

Both groups will mainly work from their own homes or offices, and have access to a computer with email, Word, Teams/Zoom. Arrangements will be made for people who cannot access a computer. They will also receive any 'reasonable accommodations' needed to support them to participate.

The Royal Commission recommendations

The Redress Design Group follows recommendations of the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care. In December 2021, the Royal Commission published its report on redress(external link) – “redress” includes things like claims and apologies that may help recognise the profound harm suffered by survivors of abuse in care.

The report’s main recommendation was to set up a new redress system, puretumu torowhānui, independent of government and churches, to restore the power, dignity and standing of those affected by abuse in care. At the time the report was released, the Government announced(external link) it would design a new scheme as recommended.

The new redress system is a major initiative for communities that have experienced trauma from abuse in care over many decades. Designing it is a complex task that will take some time, because of the diverse needs of different survivor communities.

Improving support for survivors of abuse in care

The government is improving its support for survivors of abuse in care while a new independent redress system is being designed. 

On 9 August 2022 Public Services Minister Hon Chris Hipkins announced(external link) that work was under way on three immediate projects:

  1. rapid payments for claimants
  2. a listening service
  3. easier records access for survivors

Work is also underway on preparing a national apology to abuse in care survivors. 

Read the Immediate Projects Cabinet Paper [PDF, 2 MB] released on 9 August 2022.

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.

1. Rapid payments

The Government announced(external link) on Tuesday 13 December 2022 rapid payments for historical abuse claimants. Rapid payments are not part of the new, independent redress system – they are being run by existing claims agencies. The first set of rapid payments are being made 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.

To find out more please contact the Ministry of Social Development: 0800 631 127 or visit its website.(external link)

2. Listening service 

Currently, survivors of abuse in care can contact the Royal Commission to share their experiences of harm in care and the impact of that harm. But the Royal Commission will close down in mid-2023, before the new independent redress system is established. 

Therefore, a new listening service has been recommended. The service would provide a safe, supportive, confidential place to share their care experiences. The design will use targeted consultation with survivor groups. It will draw on the experience of the Royal Commission process and the previous Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) for survivors, which ran from 2008 to 2015.

3. Easier records access for survivors 

The Government is also considering how to improve survivors’ access to records of their time in care, following concerns raised during the Inquiry. 

The Royal Commission found that many survivors had difficulty getting their records quickly and fully. The problems included lengthy delays, or getting incomplete or heavily redacted information. 

The Government recognises there are many issues around the creation of, and access to, survivor records. As a first step, officials will work with survivors and experts on some immediate improvements to how survivors access their records.

4. Preparing for a national apology 

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 in June 2023. 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
  • 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. 

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