Abuse in the care of Protestant and Other Faiths
Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation – scope widened April 2022
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry has formally extended the scope of its Anglican investigation to include the Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army faiths.
Known as the Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation, it will also be seeking evidence from survivors of abuse in other faiths, including Gloriavale, Exclusive Brethren (more recently known as Plymouth Brethren Christian Church), and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Since the Royal Commission started, we have been gathering evidence of abuse in the care of these faiths as part of our inquiry.
The scope is being formally extended to recognise increased numbers of survivors from these faiths and their institutions – including schools and care homes – who have disclosed abuse to the Royal Commission.
We continue to ask survivors to come forward. Further evidence gathered will add to our existing evidence base and understanding of abuse in these faiths, and findings about them will be included in the Royal Commission’s Interim Faith report.
The Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army faiths engaged in care provision throughout the Royal Commission’s 1950-1999 period of inquiry.
The inclusion of Gloriavale, Exclusive Brethren and Jehovah’s Witnesses, while not overly large congregations, will mean that the Royal Commission could learn from more survivors of abuse while in care of these faiths, and examine abuse in smaller faith contexts.
The Royal Commission is exploring how people in care were abused by the institutions meant to protect them. This includes physical, sexual, psychological and racist abuse.
Māori, Pacific people, Deaf and disabled and LGBTQIA+ were disproportionately affected by care systems that failed them.
Survivors of these faiths can be reassured the Royal Commission can hear from them in different ways: through face-to-face dialogue, their written accounts of abuse, through hui and fono as well as research of already disclosed abuse.
Public hearings are only a small part of the Royal Commission’s inquiry and dedicated individual public hearings will not be held for these faiths. Instead, the Royal Commission wants to continue hearing evidence privately from any survivors or witnesses of abuse in these faiths who come forward. We will call on representatives of these faiths to provide evidence as we continue our work through 2022.
Survivors of abuse in other faiths, while not specifically referenced in the scope document, are also encouraged to come forward to the Royal Commission.
Survivors who want to share experiences about abuse by any of these faiths are encouraged to call us confidentially on 0800 222 727, or register on our website and we will phone you.
The Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation will be reported on in the Royal Commission’s Faith Interim Report, to be presented to the Governor General before June 2023.
Royal Commission’s new Protestant and Other Faiths scope document
In response to wide-spread concern at abuse which occurred in faith-based institutions, in 2018 the Government extended the Terms of Reference to include such abuse and neglect.
This broadening of the Royal Commission’s scope was supported by leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and follows similar overseas investigations into abuse within the Anglican Church and its related entities.
This investigation will examine abuse which occurred in the care of Anglican Church entities in New Zealand. The Anglican Church has assumed responsibility for the care of children, young people and vulnerable adults in New Zealand from the 19th Century and continues to do so today. The care has extended from its broadest pastoral obligations, to care within different institutional settings and entities including residential and non-residential care and schools. The Inquiry will investigate abuse and neglect that occurred from 1950 to 1999, and has the discretion to consider abuse that occurred before 1950, and from 1999 to the present day.
The investigation will gather information about 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 will investigate whether there are any systemic, structural, institutional or other factors which contributed to the abuse occurring and which affected the response from the Anglican Church to abuse.
Anglican Church investigation scope document
During the investigation the Inquiry will conduct specific case studies on institutions, settings or themes within the Anglican Church. These will be identified in the near future, with the details of the selected case studies published on this page.
The redress processes of the Anglican Church were examined in a public hearing on faith-based redress in November and December 2020.
Public hearing: Faith-based redress Phase 1 and 2
Victims and survivors of abuse in the care of Protestant and Other Faiths, their families and whānau, and people who witnessed abuse, may have important information that helps the Inquiry. Sharing your experience with us will help us investigate and make findings about what happened and why, and make any necessary recommendations to these faiths to prevent and respond to abuse in care in the future.
We acknowledge that sharing experiences of abuse will be difficult, but it is important for these stories and accounts to be told and bought into the light. Please access the Royal Commission’s wellbeing information and contact page if you need support at any time.
If you have information you want to share about abuse in the care of Protestant or any faiths in New Zealand then please call us confidentially on 0800 222 727 or register online.