Attendees: Dr Judith Aitken CNZM, Tama Davis (Chair, Auckland District Health Board), Dr Monique Faleafa (Director, PWC), Sonia Hawea (Chief Executive, Taikura Trust), Tanya Kaihe (Director, Hāpai Tūhono), Rosslyn Noonan CNZM, Bernie O’Donnell (Chair, Manukau Urban Māori Authority), Rahui Papa (Chair, Te Arataura), Liz Tonks (Spokesperson, Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith based Institutions), Dee-Ann Wolferstan (Chief Executive, Te Whare Ruruhau o Meri Trust)
Apologies: Mark Benjamin QSM (Chief Executive, Standards and Monitoring Service), Prue Kapua (President, Māori Women’s Welfare League), 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), Gary Williams MNZM (Kaiwahakahaere, Hei Whakapiki Mauri)
Commissioners: Sandra Alofivae, Anaru Erueti (facilitator), Paul Gibson
Inquiry staff: Jenny Coleman-Walker (note taker), Sophie Dowsett (note taker), Simon Mount (Counsel Assisting), Benesia Smith (Chief Operating Officer)
- 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.
2. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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?
- A system that is founded on the eradication of abuse in state and faith-based care. A system that stops children, rangatahi and vulnerable adults coming into care.
- A system that has survivors at the heart – designed by survivors (past and present), survivor-led, survivors in the involved in the system. A system that believes survivors. A system that survivors trust and have confidence in.
- Need a monitor that is based on the concepts of “make safe”, “keep safe” and “monitor safe”.
- A system that gives effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. A system that really uses Puao-te-ata-tu and recognises that current practices, processes and systems are racist and need to be dramatically changed.
- A system that has statutory powers to receive complaints, investigate complaints and report complaints is needed. People must be held accountable. This system needs contact with those abused.
- A system that addresses poor practice, looks at the past and makes recommendations for the future that must be adhered to.
- Someone needs to monitor the implementation and expectation of all relevant legislation. Acts deemed as employment matters are currently not reportable to a monitoring system. That doesn’t help the safety of the child. Someone needs to monitor the ‘keep safe’ area.
- Someone needs to monitor all complaints that come through. Simply shifting staff/people sideways into other roles doesn’t keep children and vulnerable adults safe.
- Who monitors and reviews what safe means for our children and vulnerable adults? Is it by the number of complaints and number of resolutions – what about the outcome?
- Faith organisations should need to abide by NZ rules. How do we ensure effective oversight of faith-based institutions?
- Statutory mandate to cover state and faith-based institutions. Close borders to global institutions who are following processes that are inadequate.
- Monitoring is needed so that institutions are held accountable for their actions.
- Preference for the term ‘evaluation’ to ‘monitoring’ because it is more comprehensive and requires more than the mere collection and assembling of data.
- ‘Monitoring’ is not a sufficient term or concept. Too narrow. Need to be careful with language.
- Need to look at whole system cycle. Monitoring on its own is not enough. Design system, implement, collect data and monitor, analyse data and evaluate, then re-design, implement etc.
- Abuse is a criminal act, words like ‘monitoring’ and ‘measuring’ do not reflect the severity of the act.
- One of the main points survivors’ raise is wanting to prevent abuse happening to others. Monitoring obligations should be put in statute, especially for faith-based institutions. There should be public reports detailing complaints made and a safe avenue for survivors to report abuse.
- Monitoring is more than just auditing – needs to observe and report on performance, also needs to assess impact. Must be able to do more than just recommend corrective actions.
- Monitoring must provide a channel through which survivors, non-governmental agencies, communities can voice their concerns with the monitoring agency being able to investigate and clarify the issues. An independent space for dialogue.
- Nature and power of monitor must reflect answer to question: What are we as a nation willing to put up with? What is “safe” (from abuse and neglect in care)?
- Monitoring needs to include disability services in community, in families (under family funded care schemes).
What is independent?
- What counts as independent? Difficulties in defining independent. Can a Government department or organisation run by the Crown be independent?
- The underlying measure of an independent monitoring mechanism is whether it can keep children safe.
- Monitor complaints and review the implementation of legislation.
- Issue of independence from government and faith-based institutions. Existing mechanisms are not independent as, ultimately, they are run by the Crown or the churches. This can result in issues in how abuse is framed, for instance if a staff member hits a child it could be termed an ‘employment issue’ as opposed to an ‘abuse issue.’ The monitoring agency must be independent and be seen to be unbiased and independent in every way.
- Often the response is about managing risk, rather than helping those who need it.
- How much abuse will the government tolerate from their own? Many government employees may not want to call out abuse by other government employees or agencies. Need safe mechanisms to allow for this to happen.
- Too many monitoring agencies, don’t work together and not sure what they do is effective. Who will lead? Who should lead? Are they truly independent?
Core principles for effective monitoring
- Accountability and independence are key principles.
- Monitoring is more about accountability not just looking at something – someone making someone responsible for something.
- Objectives and indicators must be clear. Targets must be set. Results and outcomes that are based on eradicating abuse in care should be an underpinning principle.
- Must be able to review all government and faith-based institutions processes, practices and systems and decisions must be transparent and provide for accountability.
- Must be independent of government and faith-based institutions.
- The monitoring mechanism should be constantly reviewed.
Having a survivor-led monitoring body is critical
- Build something from grass roots up based on survivor voice - Those who have experienced abuse in care, their voices are paramount in the design of a monitoring body.
- Any design of a system or entity must to be survivor led from start to finish, not led by government policy people with no lived experience. Survivors’ needs must be at the heart.
- It can’t be designed by and for government.
- This applies to a redress scheme or monitoring mechanism. Survivor led is started and ended by the survivor.
- The survivor must be front and centre and supported to be front and centre.
- Survivors know what the issues are.
- Needs to be a survivor-led simplification of the current monitoring system.
- Don’t want to disengage survivors and need to ensure true collaboration. Keep process simple, work more closely and collaboratively with survivors. Take a trauma informed approach.
Children, rangatahi and vulnerable adults are at the heart of the matter
- If promise to all children, rangatahi and vulnerable adults is that they will not be harmed, then focus must be on prevention. This suggests that policies, regulations and monitoring processes would look quite different from now. The child, rangatahi or vulnerable adult is the heart of the matter.
Learn from the past to prevent in the future
- No system changes have been sufficiently effective to protect mokopuna over the years. Need to learn why that is and what needs to change. New approach to monitoring needs to draw on what has worked in the past.
- How is prior practice and current practice addressed and then a mechanism to protect past survivors and survivors coming through now put in place?
Prevention is key
- Most important thing to survivors is to prevent the abuse happening. Only way to do that is through monitoring and safeguarding. Need to have this recognised in the law.
- What counts as safe from a child’s point of view? Use survivors, push to make safe and keep safe. Survivors (past and present) will provide clues for what significant change is required.
- It’s not ok. We must prevent abuse happening.
Involve communities and look at local solutions
- Engagement also needs to happen with communities. If you fail to engage with communities, you cannot engage with the survivors within that community.
- Nowhere in the world has resolved issues of violence against women and children through government policy. There needs to be both a top-down and bottom-up approach. Cites work done by the Samoan Ombudsman in this area as part of an inquiry into family violence. The Ombudsman’s innovation was getting each village to take responsibility for abuse and to identify what they needed to do to keep their community safe.
- Other people keep people safe. No matter what the law, the thing that keeps people safe is intervention by other people (e.g. concerned family members visiting people in prisons or psychiatric care facilities).
- Support community knowledge and collectively share intelligence.
- Iwi should be part of the solution.
- Recognise and empower Māori and local communities to develop and implement their own processes for addressing abuse. There are already communities out there doing this mahi now.
- Need for issues to be addressed at both national and local levels. At a local level, whānau should be taking the lead. The value of this is seen in the effectiveness of marae justice programmes.
- Adequate resourcing for communities to give full effect to initiatives to prevent harm, neglect and abuse in care.
- Take a restitution not an adversarial approach.
- Restoration of mana of the individual and their community. Understand survivor. Important for iwi voice. National type issues that needs to be addressed from the past and continually addressed going forward. Acknowledge that there are also regional and local issues to be addressed.
- We are all in this together – he waka eke noa. Communities have a clear role to play as well as whānau, non-governmental agencies too.
Solutions need to be inclusive – it is about all who were abused in care
- Need to create an inclusive entity.
- Need to recognise people who are born with disability and those who develop a disability through life. Advocate to lift and strengthen the voice of vulnerable adults who start out life as a vulnerable child.
- More information on people with disabilities is needed to increase transparency. Their voices must be included in any new monitoring system. Their voices in decision-making must be supported and provided for
- Look at what advocacy looks like for children with disabilities and vulnerable adults. Reform to date has been well intentioned and had honourable aspirations with how we ensure disabled people have that support. But there is a big disconnect when they move out of the Oranga Tamariki space into other care and protection arrangements. Must have automatic access and right for supported decision making and it must include whānau/their support networks.
- More information and data need to be available about disabled individuals in care to allow for transparency. There needs to be a database that a monitoring body could draw on. There needs to be greater disability support. It is important not to forget about vulnerable adults and not to let them be disempowered by mechanisms.
- While there is disproportionate abuse of Māori survivors, should also be mindful of the need to engage with non-Maori communities too – including Pacific families, people with disabilities and their support networks.
- Remember that children and vulnerable adults in care come from many backgrounds and different situations. Any new monitoring system must provide for, and enable, all to be involved – all voices must be heard.
- Te Tiriti principles serve everyone in Aotearoa. It is not about ethnicity. About principles. Te Tiriti is good for everyone.
Importance of rehabilitation
- Rehabilitation is important. Should be aiming for a rehabilitative approach rather than the adversarial approach that monitoring bodies sometimes face.
Keep the system simple
- Need to simplify the current system using insights from the past. The current system is too complicated, do not want to just add another mechanism onto the existing monitoring bodies.
- Use insights to simplify highly complex system. Survivor led system simplification being informed by pain points of the past.
- Too many monitors. Not sure what they do. One monitor. Keep it simple.
Transformational change is needed
- Need to break the system to rebuild the system. Cannot lose the emotion driving this change.
- Break the system to rebuild system. Already know what has and hasn’t worked – need to see where it lands in the landscape. Inquiry to be brave to remove what isn’t working. Solutions are in communities. Support getting with MPs and legislators to get on board to look at.
- Whānau and marae need to be taking the reins. This is about whakaora and whakamana. About the restoration of mana. Must be mana enhancing.
- Broader – lift to transformational change. Think as big as possible. Carrot and stick (independent monitoring and safety of child by expectations of entity). Carrot is transformational change using insights. Innovative programmes to solutions for problems that have been identified.
- Abuse was normalised by some communities. How do you motivate and drive change when it is entrenched in some communities? Need to be willing to have hard conversations on things that are not right in communities. To be community-led, not government-led.
- Should consider having iwi/Māori running any new mechanism/system.
- Royal Commission and government must be focused on transformational change of the abuse in care system, it is broken and requires transformation not just changes around the edges. Need transformation now.
- Officials don't recognise the scale of the problem of ongoing abuse.
- Internal complaints processes not working for those in care.
- Need for adequate resources to be given to survivors and communities to empower them to deal with abuse in care and to restore their mana, whakapapa, identity.
Acknowledge grey areas
- Under Oranga Tamariki’s current legislation, they can ‘contract out’ many of their responsibilities. Need to consider what this means in terms of monitoring.
- Need to work out how the mechanism could cover the grey areas that are tricky to monitor. For instance, how will it monitor faith-based institutions? How will it ensure adequate oversight of foster care situations? How will it monitor situations where it’s a service provider?
- Understandably focus is on monitoring on those in care of Oranga Tamariki, but there are a lot of children and young people in situations where Oranga Tamariki have contracted out their responsibilities. Really important to look at all those broad areas. Thinking about monitoring inclusively, what does that mean for how vulnerable adults in the care of others is monitored? What does it mean for faith-based institutions?
- Oranga Tamariki reaches out to foster care, whāngai children, which is one removed. Commission has heard about the extent of abuse in foster care. Those children who are formally in state care under Oranga Tamariki have also seen negligence of health and education services. Focus needs to be more than what Oranga Tamariki did or didn’t do. Need to extend to education and health failings and justice services.
- Not just crimes by individuals but institutional crimes. Government has chosen to delegate to institutions, service providers and organisations the care of state wards. All these situations must be within scope of any new monitoring entity.
- 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.