Three leading literacy support providers are now assisting the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry, breaking down another barrier for survivors wanting to speak out, who struggle to read and write.

Survivors wanting to share their experience with the Royal Commission in writing can now access support from the NZ Howard League Trust, Literacy Aotearoa and The Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust.

All three organisations operate nation-wide and have been working for decades with people who have learning or intellectual disabilities.

Māori are over-represented in historical and current state care statistics, and are also over-represented, as are Pacific people, in having low literacy skills. Māori and Pacific people make up 1.2 million New Zealanders who cannot read or write.

Abuse in Care Inquiry Chair Coral Shaw said it is important that we can reach and support as many survivors as possible to share their accounts of abuse in ways that work for them.

“Literacy support can open new doorways for people to access information about the Inquiry and be supported to share their experiences with us,” Shaw said.

Te Tumuaki Chief Executive Officer Bronwyn Yates said it is a privilege for the organisation to be able to support survivors to share their written accounts with the Inquiry.

“Opening up the ability for people to express their thoughts and experiences authentically, in writing and with literacy support, enables more New Zealanders to be heard,” Yates said. 

NZ Howard League Chief Executive Mike Williams said NZ Howard League is proud to support people in prison who wish to make submissions to the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care.

“Many of the people we work with in the criminal justice system endured traumatic experiences as children and young people and were victims well before they became offenders. Having an opportunity to tell their story, and to be listened to, can be an essential step in their recovery and rehabilitation.”

Department of Corrections General Manager Integrated Practice and Innovation Kym Grierson said many people in prison struggle with literacy challenges on a day to day basis.

“Being able to access literacy support will help reduce barriers further for survivors in prison wanting to engage with the Inquiry,” Grierson said. 

Advocacy National Director Erika Butters said people with learning disabilities are unique in that they have a higher experience of abuse and harm, but less recognition and opportunity to tell their stories.

“Supporting people to share their experiences with the Inquiry will change this, and make sure their voice is both heard and counted.”

Contact the Royal Commission on our freephone number 0800-222-727 to find out more about accessing literacy support to complete a written account