To understand the tūkino suffered, it must be viewed against the context in which people were placed in care. Children and vulnerable adults were placed in care for many reasons. Some entered care because their parents were unable to care for them or were abusive; some because they were born to an unmarried mother, or because of the death of a parent. In many cases parents were not supported to be able to look after their children or family members. Sometimes families placed a child or family member in care for religious or educational reasons, or because they trusted a particular individual such as a religious leader, or a school or institution, to provide care. Disabled children and disabled adults alike were often placed in residential or special care, because there was not enough support for them and their whānau in their homes, schools, workplaces and local communities, or because of the actual or perceived risk to themselves or others. Often those in care and their families had little power or resource to challenge the situation.
Children and vulnerable adults in the care of the State were placed in many different care settings, including boys’ and girls’ homes, youth justice facilities, foster placements, adoption placements, health camps; health and disability settings including both large psychiatric hospitals and community-based care, and police and court cells. Many children and vulnerable adults were also in the care of faith-based institutions. These institutions have always had an active presence in our communities, including Māori and Pacific communities, and have assumed responsibility for the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. Some survivors went through numerous care settings, both State and faith-based, and suffered abuse in more than one place.
Racist and ableist beliefs, the backdrop of colonisation and other broader social contexts, contributed to Māori, Pacific, Deaf and disabled people entering care. These also shaped their experiences both in care and of seeking puretumu torowhānui and the restoration of mana for tūkino suffered. Women and girls and those in faith-based care also faced particular social factors that shaped their experiences of care. Understanding these factors help us to understand the particular types of tūkino suffered by survivors from those groups. Many survivors belong to more than one of these groups. For example, many Pacific survivors were in faith-based care, and disabled survivors may also be Māori or Pacific. Many of these survivors faced multiple layers of discrimination and tūkino in care. They also faced additional barriers in seeking puretumu for the tūkino suffered.
The focus on the particular experiences of these groups is not in any way meant to take away from the profound experiences of other survivors, who have also suffered devastating consequences from tūkino inflicted and suffered.
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