“When you are shut away from the world you are not treated as a real person with a life that actually matters.” (Sir Robert Martin, 2019)
The investigation into abuse in State and faith-based disability care settings will examine the care of disabled people in settings such as psychopaedic hospitals and facilities, psychiatric institutions and services, education settings, residential and non-residential settings, community services and rehabilitation services.
Abuse and neglect are broad terms and include inadequate or improper treatment that resulted in serious mental or physical harm to a person in care. Neglect may include physical, emotional, psychological, medical, education, spiritual and cultural neglect.
This investigation will select care providers and institutions as case studies of abuse and neglect in disability care settings. The main period covered by this investigation is 1950-1999, however, the Inquiry may also consider experiences prior to 1950 and after 1999. It will give voice to disabled victims and survivors, and their whānau, about abuse and neglect experienced in disability care settings.
If you want to share your account with us, we will use it together with the stories of other disabled victims and survivors, and other people who have also chosen to tell us what they know about the care of disabled people, to make findings and report on what happened and why, and to make meaningful recommendations for change.
Some stories or information may be short, and others may be long or complex. We would like to hear about you, and your experiences in a disability care setting.
We acknowledge that remembering and talking about abuse and neglect is distressing. We are well set up to provide whatever support you need before you talk to us, during our discussions, and support afterwards. We can provide communication assistance.
The investigation into abuse in State and faith-based disability care settings is guided by an investigation scope document based on the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference. That scope document can be read here.
The particular disability care settings, care providers and institutions to be investigated as case studies are being considered and scope documents will be published here once available. The investigation will gather evidence, have public hearings, roundtables, wānanga, hui and fono.
Providing information to the investigation
Disabled people, and their whānau and families, have important information that may help the Inquiry investigate abuse and neglect of disabled people in disability care settings.
Sharing your experience, or your family member’s experience, means the Inquiry can make recommendations that are necessary to prevent and respond to the abuse of disabled people in disability care settings in the future.
Sharing experiences of abuse will be difficult, but it is important for these experiences to be told and brought into the light. Wellbeing support, communication assistance and specialised supports for people with learning disabilities, neurodiversity and cognitive impairments, are available through the Commission to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate as fully as possible. Please click here to access the Inquiry’s wellbeing information and contact page if you need support at any time.
We also want to hear from the whānau, families, friends and support workers of disabled people, as well as current and former staff members of disability care providers and others with information about abuse or neglect in disability care settings.
If you think you may know something that helps our investigation, then please call us confidentially on 0800 222 727 or register online.