Attendees: Mark Benjamin QSM (Chief Executive, Standards and Monitoring Service), Sue Hobbs (Safeguarding Adults Consultant and Coordinator), Prue Kapua (President, Māori Women’s Welfare League), Paula Tesoriero MNZM (Disability Rights Commissioner, Human Rights Commission), Gary Williams MNZM (Kaiwahakahaere, Hei Whakapiki Mauri)
Apologies: Mary O’Hagan MNZM (General Manager Operations, Te Hiringa Hauora), The Most Reverend Don Tamihere (Archbishop, Anglican Church in Aotearoa), Wheturangi Walsh-Tapiata (Chief Executive, Te Oranganui)
Commissioners: Sandra Alofivae, Anaru Erueti (facilitator), Paul Gibson, Julia Steenson
Inquiry staff: Jenny Coleman-Walker (note taker), Donna McKenzie (note taker)
- In the Royal Commission’s engagement with ngā morehu/survivors and their whānau / support networks to date we have heard that survivors from abuse in care across all settings, both state and faith-based, have emphasised preventing future abuse of children, young persons or vulnerable adults in care is a key element of redress. This sentiment of prevention as part of healing the past continues to be expressed in the Royal Commission’s engagements.
- Prevention and non-repetition have also been themes of the information and evidence we have gathered in our public hearings and at the Redress Roundtable session, where the Royal Commission learned that:
- prevention of abuse should be an underpinning purpose of a new redress scheme if it is going to be survivor-led
- prevention of future abuse is important to survivors and is often a key motivating factor for them to come forward
- a redress scheme can provide valuable information about changes needed at system and service delivery levels
- if a redress scheme can ensure care providers/individuals are held accountable for any abuse, this will act as a deterrent and so a form of prevention.
- Effective oversight and monitoring, including complaints systems are internationally recognised as key components of prevention, detection and system improvement. The emphasis is on improving the systems that have neglected those that have been abused within it. Some of what the Royal Commission has found to date about the relationship between oversight and monitoring and redress is:
- Survivors are calling for a redress mechanism that includes effective oversight and monitoring to prevent abuse in care occurring to others.
- Historical monitoring practices were focused on the system, not on those in care.
- A poor response and lack of accountability by the state and faith-based institutions to respond to past reviews and recommendations.
- Neither ngā morehu Māori nor Iwi / Māori have been involved in previous monitoring and oversight systems.
- There is a need for a te ao Māori lens in oversight and monitoring.
- There is a need for rigorous independent monitoring, i.e., independent of the agencies and organisations that provide care of children, young persons and vulnerable adults.
- The aims of this wānanga were to seek the participants’ insights on the definition of independent monitoring and oversight; the core principles of effective independent monitoring; and the key characteristics of effective independent monitoring in practice.
- Participants were invited to attend by the Royal Commission for their broad range of experiences.
Summary of the key themes that were discussed
What do we mean by monitoring?
- From a human rights perspective, the questions are what is monitoring; and what are we monitoring? The aim being to understand the appropriate remedy, prevention, service, systems and accountabilities. Redress is the “so what” of monitoring. So how can we use monitoring to hold the state or others to account?
- Can look to key components of various human rights legislation and agreements including the Paris Principles, Article 33 and General Comment 7 in the CRPD which concerns the independent involvement of disabled peoples:
- legislation that removes barriers and supports participation
- capacity building of the sector
- adequately resourced consultation mechanisms
- Te Titiri-based
- reporting (process and output) is transparent
- freedom from political interference (independent as possible)
- ability to obtain information.
- This establishes a regulatory basis and obligation of government to monitor and report.
- Monitoring mechanism needs to develop a monitoring framework and clearly identify what we are monitoring and what are we monitoring it against (our indicator framework).
- Obligation on subject agency to respond in some way. Make sure there are duties on agencies being monitored to provide information and respond to reports.
- It is not just measuring what is – a real need to have a developmental focus to see real movement and change happen.
- There are several issues that need to be addressed for disabled communities. These include:
- monitoring needs to be a catalyst for change rather than a compliance exercise – people want to see monitoring leading to improvements
- capacity building is needed for disabled communities and stakeholders, so they can be the designers
- there needs to be a joined-up government response as an outcome to complaints
- don’t repeat what is already there.
Limitations of complaints processes
- The individualistic and bureaucratic approaches taken by complaints processes are reactive rather than proactive.
- People don’t want to have to rely on a complaints system and some people can’t make a complaint (e.g. reliance on carers who may be perpetrators and the reason for a complaint).
- A complaints system needs to be proactive, but there also need to be tools and services in place so people can get their stories out such as supported decision making.
- There is a power imbalance between decision-makers and people making a complaint that needs to be recognised.
- Need to have a wellbeing pathway to respond to the immediate harm. People share their experience, but they are currently at risk.
- Whanau and people in roles that receive complaints and interact with complainants need to be supported and looked after. Coming into contact with this type of information puts them in harm’s way.
Gaps in the system for safeguarding adults at risk
- There is gap in the system and nothing is in place for safeguarding at risk adults, unlike with children and young people. If you have a concern about an at-risk adult there is no number to call, process to follow, or system to remedy their safety and wellbeing.
- This means there is no system/mechanism to identify and remedy abuse of adults other than in specific circumstances such as family violence situations. We look after young people (under 18) and we look after our older communities (from 65). There is a gap for people at risk aged between 18 and 64 years.
- There is no shared and agreed definition of what constitutes all types of abuse (unlike specific to sectors such as family violence). There is a need to distinguish between poor practice and abuse.
- We need to look at the significance of this in terms of definitions and coverage of any monitoring regime.
- What is the role of oversight and monitoring when there is no legislation or organisation to look after the interests of adults – nor any collection of data on adults at risk.
- The Ministry of Health’s Safeguarding Framework may be useful in this conversation. It focusses on three key areas: being aware, being heard and being responsive.
Core principles for effective monitoring and the key characteristics of effective monitoring in practice
- Critical it is based on Te Tiriti principles.
- Independent and free from political interference. To last the test of time it needs to be kept separate from the agencies it monitors.
- Make sure any monitoring body can get the information, input and feedback from anyone they feel they need to.
- Organisations already providing services and capturing people’s stories need sustainable funding and resourcing.
- Need to capture the voices of people who are invisible in the current system. For example, parents who suffer abuse from children with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome whose only remedy is the justice system, which isn’t appropriate for the family context.
- Use a coordinating body that gathers all the information/data rather than an organisation overseeing a system. This would allow gaps and failings to be identified and for people to have confidence that someone is listening and doing something about their concerns.
- Enshrine meaningful engagement with disabled people in legalisation.
- Sustainable funding for disabled people’s organisations. Invest in disabled people’s organisations to build their capacity and capability.
- Make sure the consultation mechanisms are adequately resourced.
- Repeal legislation limiting access because of legal capacity.
- Transparent reporting to the public of processes undertaken and findings.
- Broader access to resources.
- Effective approach needs to be responsive not just reactive like complaints. Reach out to vulnerable people routinely and inclusively to hear their stories.
- Must be catalyst for change. People’s safety is paramount. A response must be immediate for individuals.
- Need to harness the momentum of people who have told their stories. They are the assets. Equip them with tools and they are the mechanism.
Need for change but we can use existing channels that are already working
- Survivors want to change their world. Despite many systems being are out there – still a feeling of ground hog day. Don’t see any real impact from mechanism that are there.
- Don’t want a new process or channel created that simply continues silo effect. There are a lot of existing assets and we need to harness the skills within. Empower communities to use systems they already have.
- Complete a stocktake of tools we have now and map out what is already in place. Choose the best ones.
- There is a resource of people from disabled communities who have already told their stories – how could they be used?
- Share information and resources across government. No one wants to tell their story 50 times!
Importance of data
- Common features of abuse across all human beings but there are important nuances for disabled people such as the prevalence, magnitude and types of abuse. For example, recent statistics show that 40% of disabled women have experienced some form of physical abuse compared to 20% of non-disabled women.
- We know that the data we have for disabled people is weak. While we are starting to include disabled people statistics there is still a lot we don’t know.
- Data and evidence is critical to this work. Any monitoring regime needs to work out what data it needs to support a good evidence base.
- There is a lack of disaggregated data, specificity and recognition of intersectionalties. We need to be able to see the different dimensions of people’s identity.
- Why is abuse of disabled people seen as different? We need to change this.
- Disproportionate number of disabled people. Some bespoke studies and anecdotes point to 50 percent of kids in the care of Orangi Tamariki being disabled.
Impact of societal attitudes and values
- The term “vulnerable adult” is an example of the othering of disabled peoples and we should instead refer to “adults at risk”.
- Inadequacy of current individual voice mechanisms. People need to be able to “raise a flag”.
- Lack of tolerance of others needs to be recognised and addressed.
- Big issue with systemic ableism. Example of court proceedings being supressed in cases of abuse by providers.
- Potential to slip back in terms of values and principle driven behaviours now. Need to develop standard list of values for people to encourage better.
- Enduring impacts of colonisation. Need to recognise there is a strong rooted bias to institutions.
Providing whānau support in disabled communities with empathy
- Statistics show that abusers can often be family members. How do we ensure monitoring is sensitive to that and culturally appropriate?
- Interaction with “systems” can retraumatise or add to trauma for whānau – it is a cultural issue not just a disability issue.
- Agreed that Inquiry staff would draft the notes from this wānanga and send to participants for comments/feedback.
- Noted that a summary of the notes is likely to be made public by the Royal Commission.
Agreed that the roopu would like to continue the discussion and hui again. Inquiry staff to arrange.