In response to widespread concern at abuse which occurred in faith-based institutions the Government extended the inquiry’s Terms of Reference to include such abuse and neglect. This was supported by the leaders of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and followed multiple international and national inquiries raising concerns about child abuse in the global Catholic Church.
This investigation examined abuse in the care of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Catholic Church has provided care to children, young people and vulnerable adults from the 19th Century, and continues to provide care today. The care provided has extended from its broadest pastoral obligations to care within different institutional settings and entities, including residential and non-residential care and schools.
The investigation examined what happened, why it happened, and the impacts of abuse that may have occurred at the hands of priests, religious or lay employees of the Church. It looked at whether there are any systemic, structural, institutional or other factors special to the Church which contributed to the abuse occurring or which affected the Church’s response to abuse.
The scope of investigation into the Catholic Church can be read here.
The redress processes of the Catholic Church were examined in a public hearing on faith-based redress in November and December 2020. More information on this hearing can found here.
Case study investigation
As part of this wider investigation the Royal Commission conducted a case study investigation focusing on Marylands School, a residential school primarily for boys with learning disabilities, operated by the Hospitaller Order of St John of God brothers from 1955 to 1984. The case study also looked into any abuse by the Hospitaller Order of St John of God brothers at the neighbouring St Joseph’s Orphanage, run by another order, and at Hebron Trust, a Christchurch residential programme in Christchurch for youth in need of safety, shelter and support, including ‘street kids’, operated by one of the brothers of the St John of God order from 1986 and 1993.
Marylands School Public Hearing
Faith-based institutional response hearing page