The Minister for Social Development needs to issue a full universal apology to those abused while in state care, and immediately set up an independent body to resolve historic and current complaints of abuse and neglect, the Green Party said today.
More than 1100 people abused in state care as children submitted to the Confidential Listening Service, headed by Judge Carolyn Henwood, which recommended that an independent body be set up to hold the state to account. Minister for Social Development Anne Tolley is continuing to insist that the abuse was not systemic.
“If you have been abused by the state, it is incomprehensible that the same people in charge would then hear your complaint and decide on compensation,” Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie said.
“The Government is pushing through settlements with abuse victims, with confidentiality clauses, without knowing the true extent of the abuse.
“We need an independent body to assess the claims, but we also need an independent inquiry to establish the extent of the abuse.
“Not every child in state care suffered abuse, but the fact that so many did means that it is crucial that there is accountability from the system that perpetrated this abuse.
“It seems that the Government is putting its own interests and fiscal bottom line ahead of the interests of survivors of abuse.
“With the Government’s current CYFS revamp proposing to remove the provision to place Māori children with whānau first, it is imperative that the Government is able to keep tamariki safe.
“When Judge Henwood is saying that the Crown has had no remorse, or shred of empathy the Minister needs to listen and address those concerns.
“Instead of being so defensive and continuing to further the trauma of people who were abused, the Minister can now ensure that the state faces up to what it has done, and take every possible measure to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” Ms Logie said.