Resignation of Commissioner Julia Steenson
The Minister for Internal Affairs today announced that Commissioner Julia Steenson is stepping down from the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry. Commissioner Steenson is resigning to pursue other leadership opportunities.
Ms Steenson said it has been a privilege to be a Commissioner since June 2020.
“It was an honour to be appointed to the role of Commissioner for the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry.”
“Listening to survivors of abuse share their experiences of harm and trauma has been both difficult but privileged mahi. To lead and participate in engagements, most recently across diverse communities including Māori - as the most disproportionately affected cohort - has been a humbling experience,” said Ms Steenson.
"I am proud of all that I have contributed to while I have been with the Commission. I will watch the Inquiry’s work with interest over the next eight months and I wish the very best outcomes for survivors.”
During Commissioner Steenson’s time at the Commission, she co-chaired the Māori hearing; undertook around 100 survivor sessions kanohi ki te kanohi which enabled survivors to personally share their experiences; engaged with communities across the motu by listening to the hurt and mamae they suffered; and engaged on solutions that the Commission should recommend for the future.
Commissioners jointly thank and acknowledge Commissioner Steenson for her commitment, passion and mahi. Commissioners also acknowledge that the Inquiry is in a strong position to complete the final report.
Commissioner Anaru Erueti, who co-chaired the Māori hearing, said “We know that Māori have been disproportionately impacted by abuse in care. The Commission, through its private sessions, hearings and engagements around the motu, is committed to understanding the specific burden for Māori who have been in care. This includes the impacts on their whānau through the generations for our report findings and recommendations and the need to ensure survivors have access to proper holistic redress or puretumu torowhanui.”
“Julia has made a significant contribution to the Commission and Aotearoa in this regard, and we thank her for her valuable mahi,” he said.
“We want to assure all survivors that while we will miss Julia, her contribution and whakaaro will be evident in the case studies, and the final report and recommendations.”
Chair Coral Shaw said “The four commissioners, while saddened by the loss of Commissioner Steenson, are confident that we can complete the Inquiry’s investigation and evidence analysis. There is still a lot of work to complete in drafting the case studies, reports and refining the recommendations, and the Commission is in a good position to finish this by 30 June 2023.”
About the Royal Commission:
The Royal Commission, now in its final year, is mandated to investigate and examine the Aotearoa New Zealand care system from 1950 -1999 and to make recommendations for changes to ensure factors that allowed abuse to occur in the past do not continue today and in the future.
The Inquiry has been looking at why people were taken into care, what abuse they suffered in care, and the effects of the abuse on them, their whānau and wider communities.
Evidence from our public hearings, investigations, survivor and witness accounts, research and policy review, hui, wānanga and fono and community engagement will inform the final report due to the Governor General in June 2023.
This final report will set out findings and recommendations to ensure the future safety and wellbeing for tamariki, rangatahi and adults at risk, in care.
Over the course of the five-year Inquiry, we have heard from more than 2,700 survivors and their whānau who shared their experiences of being abused and neglected in care and the ongoing impacts the tūkino, abuse, has on them and their families and communities.