The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry has welcomed a move by Crown agencies to lift confidentiality obligations on survivors of abuse in State care arising from settlement agreements with the Crown.

This means survivors who want to participate in the Inquiry can choose to share their settlement details with Commissioners if they wish, despite any confidentiality agreements with Crown agencies.

The Inquiry’s Counsel Assisting Simon Mount QC says the waiver is intended to enable survivors to engage with the Commission freely, even if they have entered into confidential settlements with the Crown in the past.

“We requested the confidentiality waiver earlier this year to ensure survivors can share their experiences and effectively take part in the Inquiry, despite any settlement agreements with the Crown” says Simon.

“Our expectation is that faith based institutions will follow the Crown’s lead and waive any confidentiality obligations for survivors of abuse in the care of faith based institutions.  The same expectation applies to those bodies not covered by the Crown’s waiver, for example boards of trustees, DHBs and private care providers.

“We encourage survivors to register on our website to learn more about the Inquiry and find out how they can be involved.  In all cases, it is entirely up to survivors whether to disclose information from a confidential settlement.  The Inquiry will respect survivors’ privacy at all times.  

“Through hearing from survivors, evidence and research, we will make recommendations to the Government in 2023 [Updated - the Final Report is now due 28 March 2024] on how New Zealand can better care for children, young people and vulnerable adults,” he said.