The Abuse in Care Royal Commission has today taken the difficult decision to postpone next week’s Redress public hearing in Wellington, due to COVID-19.
The public hearing on the State Response to Civil Redress and Civil Litigation Claims was scheduled for two parts from 23 March-3 April and 12-22 May to take place in Wellington.
Hearings are now expected to take place in the next few months with the actual dates and venue to be confirmed soon.
The Commission has also agreed to postpone private sessions over the next two weeks; sessions involve survivors speaking directly to Commissioners about their experiences of abuse.
Chair of the Inquiry Judge Coral Shaw says the decision to postpone the hearing was made after careful consideration in order to give clarity and certainty to survivors now, rather than wait.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of survivors and our people is our main priority and that is what has driven our decision to defer the hearing dates.
“We appreciate this will cause inconvenience and in making our decision we have considered the advice from Government agencies.
“Several participants in the public hearing have recently travelled internationally. At least two would be required to self-isolate and would therefore be unable to participate fully.
“We recognise the trauma many of our survivors feel so it’s hugely important we provide a safe, comfortable environment for our survivors to share their stories.
“By deferring the hearing and private sessions we can achieve this,” says Judge Shaw.
Executive Director Mervin Singham says all the survivors affected by the deferrals are now being contacted.
“Importantly, the other work of the Inquiry will continue.
“We recognise people may have concerns or questions and we encourage them to contact our Freephone 0800 222 727,” says Mervin Singham.
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