The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, a community organisation that advocates for children and young people who have experience in the care system.

VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai works to ensure the voices of care-experienced children are heard, to positively influence their individual care and collectively affect change in the wider care system.

Inquiry Chair Coral Shaw said that although the Royal Commission’s core focus is historical abuse between 1950 and 1999, it also has discretion to hear about any abuse or neglect before or after these dates.

“Forming strong relationships with key stakeholders like VOYCE is essential to reaching the tens of thousands of children, young people and vulnerable adults who experienced abuse while in State care or faith-based institutions.”

“This agreement will help to ensure all survivors, including Māori, Pasefika, LGBTIQ+, the disabled or those with mental health disorders, know about and can engage with the Royal Commission,” said Shaw.

VOYCE Chief Executive Tracie Shipton said that children and young people in State care need to be listened to and their voices kept at the centre of all decisions made about them.

“This partnership will help break down barriers and create safe ways for care-experienced people to engage with this process” Shipton said.

The MoU includes a set of key principles - such as good faith, autonomy, cooperation, communication and timeliness - that will guide how the organisations will work together going forward.