An independent scheme
The problems with existing redress processes are well-documented. The solution, in our view, is establishing a new puretumu torowhānui scheme that is open to all survivors of abuse in State and faith-based care, including indirect State care, and is independent of the State, indirect State care providers and faith-based institutions. That is, it should be an independent Crown entity, not a departmental public body.
This puretumu torowhānui scheme would help ensure there is consistency and equity in the outcomes for survivors. Properly designed, it would be survivor-focused, trauma-informed and accessible to all survivors. Properly resourced, it would become an efficient way of providing puretumu torowhānui, and in particular would develop specific skills and work proficiently with Māori, Pacific, Deaf and disabled people. Properly independent, it would avoid the need for survivors to approach the organisations they distrusted, an interaction many found distressing or traumatising, and it would also eliminate the inherent conflict of interest these organisations face in investigating themselves. Such a scheme, being governed by legislation, would have defined rules and transparent outcomes. Further, having a single scheme that covers all State, indirect State care and faith-based institutions would mean that survivors who were abused in several institutions would not need to seek puretumu torowhānui from each.
In our public consultation, support for creating a scheme like this was overwhelming. Only two submissions from organisations opposed such a step. Seven faith-based organisations made submissions: the Anglican Church, the Methodist Church, The Salvation Army, Presbyterian Support Services, the Society of Mary, the Presbyterian Church and Te Rōpū Tautoko, a group co-ordinating Catholic Church engagement with this inquiry. All supported some form of independent agency being created, although they had different ideas about what role it should play. The Society of Mary, for example, wanted it to have a “second-tier” review function. Te Rōpū Tautoko said the agency could function as an independent appeal body. All intended to continue their existing redress processes because they said it was important survivors had a choice of avenues through which to seek redress.
Some faith-based institutions had reservations about a single scheme. First, they said some survivors might want pastoral or other forms of support from their institution. However, we do not see the new puretumu torowhānui scheme precluding survivors from getting pastoral support if they wish. Secondly, they said some survivors might want an apology for harm directly from the institution concerned or might want to take part in restorative justice or reconciliation with the institution. Again, the new puretumu torowhānui scheme would not stop survivors from doing that. Thirdly, they said they needed to be involved in providing puretumu to ensure accountability for the abuse. However, nothing in the new scheme we propose would stop them from ensuring accountability by acknowledging and apologising for the tūkino, or abuse, harm and trauma and contributing to the cost of puretumu torowhānui. Finally, they said there was a risk of creating yet another impersonal – and overwhelmed – bureaucracy much like the claims processes run by government agencies. However, we think this risk can be minimised by good scheme design, resourcing and regular reviews.
We considered three other options: imposing a set of nationally consistent principles on existing redress processes; putting the Ministry of Social Development, the largest operator of the largest claims process, in charge of a single scheme; and introducing a scheme that did not include faith-based institutions. However, the first two options would have attempted to modernise what are fundamentally flawed set-ups, while the third would have perpetuated inconsistencies between State and faith-based redress, and required some survivors still to make claims to both.
12. The Crown should set up a fair, effective, accessible and independent puretumu torowhānui scheme to help survivors and their whānau affected by abuse in State care, indirect State care and faith-based care to achieve utua kia ea or heal the vā, heal the relational space between all things, and help prevent abuse in care.
13. The principles, values, concepts, te Tiriti obligations and international law commitments that will guide the design of the puretumu torowhānui system should guide the design and implementation of the puretumu torowhānui scheme.
14. The membership of the governance body for the puretumu torowhānui scheme should give effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi, and reflect the diversity of survivors, including disabled survivors, as well as including people with relevant expertise.
Discontinuation of current claims processes
We consider State and faith-based institutions should wind up their current claims processes once the puretumu torowhānui scheme is established because the continuation of current processes would be an unnecessary duplication of effort and resources, might confuse survivors and might complicate the functioning of the new scheme. The same applies to any claims process run by indirect State care providers. If, however, some faith-based institutions and providers continue to offer a process of their own in parallel with the puretumu torowhānui scheme, we would strongly encourage them to direct survivors to the new scheme and give them information about it.
15. State and faith-based institutions should phase out their current claims processes for abuse in care, and any faith-based institution or indirect State care provider that chooses to continue its own claims process should direct survivors to the puretumu torowhānui scheme and give them information about it.
Functions of the puretumu torowhānui scheme
The puretumu torowhānui scheme will have four core functions. The first will be to provide a safe, supportive setting that is consistent with the principles of utua kia ea and manaakitia kia tipu and enables survivors to freely disclose the details of their abuse and the traumatic feelings that go with disclosures. The necessary supports must be in place to help survivors deal with these feelings and the impact of the trauma. The Māori Collective will seek further information on appropriate services to support survivors and whānau.
The second will be to make decisions on survivors’ claims and determine whether and what sort of puretumu torowhānui survivors should receive. To do this, the scheme will need to have fair processes for considering survivors’ accounts and making decisions on puretumu torowhānui, as well as clear processes and systems for facilitating puretumu torowhānui. All these processes must recognise the specific cultural needs of survivors and their whānau. The scheme will facilitate acknowledgements and apologies, along with support services to restore mana and oranga. It will also facilitate or make financial payments to survivors through funding mechanisms described below.
The third function will be to tell as many survivors as possible about the scheme, including how to access it. The fourth will be to identify and report on systemic issues related to abuse and how to prevent abuse happening again. This final function will grow as the scheme gains experience and expertise.
16. The functions of the puretumu torowhānui scheme should be to:
- provide a safe, supportive environment, consistent with the value of manaakitia kia tipu, for survivors to talk about their abuse
- consider survivors’ accounts and make decisions on puretumu torowhānui, which may include:
- facilitating acknowledgements and apologies by institutions for tūkino, or abuse, harm and trauma, in care
- facilitating access to support services, financial payments and other measures that enables te mana tāngata
- disseminate information about the scheme so as many eligible individuals as possible know about and can access its services
- report and make recommendations on systemic issues relevant to abuse in care.
The puretumu torowhānui scheme must be independent of the State and faith-based institutions and indirect State care providers where tūkino took place – a point made by almost every survivor we heard from. We have already examined the inherent conflict of interest in organisations investigating themselves. By operating independently, the scheme is much more likely to gain the trust and confidence of survivors. This independence will require the scheme to have no connection with the care institutions or the individuals within them except as needed to carry out its functions. This will include having no connection with those allegedly responsible for the abuse of survivors or those responsible for defending any abuse claims in court.
17. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should operate independently of the institutions where tūkino or abuse, harm and trauma took place and should have no interactions with these institutions or the people within them, except where necessary to carry out its functions, and this includes individuals or institutions:
- responsible for providing care to survivors
- allegedly responsible for the abuse
- responsible for defending any abuse in care claims in court.
Inclusivity & responsiveness
Consistent with the principle of he mana tō tēnā, tō tēnā - ahakoa ko wai, the puretumu torowhānui scheme should be open to all survivors of abuse in care. This includes those who have been through previous State or faith-based redress processes, including civil litigation, with whether or not they settled their claim, because we have found these processes to be flawed. The scheme should, however, take into account any payments survivors have already received, including any from ACC.
The scheme should include survivors in prison or with a criminal record, including those convicted of serious offences. Between 2008 and 2017, the National Government considered a policy to exclude serious offenders, but the Labour Government elected in 2017 decided not to take the matter further. In Australia and in Scotland, serious offenders can be denied redress payments. However, we consider there should continue to be no exclusion for serious offenders or any extra criteria for them to meet. A large number of those in prison have been in care and the tūkino they suffered may have contributed to their offending. Most are Māori, and they and their whānau are likely to be among those most in need of help through the scheme.
We also consider whānau members should be able to seek puretumu torowhānui on behalf of deceased survivors – something strongly favoured in public submissions. This is consistent with the principle of whanaungatanga. Puretumu torowhānui for such survivors helps whānau feel the wrongdoing has been acknowledged – and may also provide them with an inheritance they would never otherwise receive. Some survivors, we should note, objected strongly to their parents, or anyone other than their children, being able to seek redress on their behalf.
Administrators of some overseas schemes told us claims by surviving family members were among the most complex applications they received. We consider the scheme should continue on with applications received from survivors who died after lodging their applications. We consider the scheme should also receive claims brought on behalf of survivors who did not make an application before dying, but only if family and whānau can give the scheme clear evidence the survivor intended to apply for puretumu torowhānui or had taken other steps to make a claim. Survivors who had taken no such steps before dying might not have wanted puretumu torowhānui or might not have wanted family members to discover highly personal details about their experiences. Also, a survivor’s family may find it hard to provide evidence of tūkino, especially if the survivor did not discuss their experience in detail. The scheme should certainly show some flexibility on this question of claims on behalf of deceased survivors, but it must not proceed with applications or allow the disclosure of a survivor’s information without clear evidence that the survivor intended to claim puretumu torowhānui. The alternative would be to compromise the scheme’s integrity.
We also consider the scheme should give priority to claims from seriously ill and elderly survivors, and should have the power to make interim payments to them. Australian, Canadian and Scottish redress schemes all give (or gave) priority to such survivors. Quite apart from showing compassion to such individuals, it is essential to treat their claims with urgency because survivor accounts are usually the main evidence adjudicators rely on to make decisions about redress. It also increases the chance of survivors enjoying the benefits of redress.
We leave two matters about puretumu torowhānui to future reports. One is claims by whānau for intergenerational harm, and the second is other collective redress, such as to groups of survivors, hapū or iwi. We will make recommendations in later reports on the extent to which whānau of survivors can independently apply to the scheme for puretumu torowhānui in relation to harm they suffered as a result of the tūkino suffered by the survivor. We will also make recommendations on how the scheme or system can facilitate other collective redress. Redress for groups, hapū or iwi could be in the form of public apologies and memorials, as discussed below, although other forms of collective redress may also be appropriate.
18. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should:
- be open to all survivors, including those who have been through previous redress processes, those covered by accident compensation, and those in prison or with a criminal record
- enable whānau to continue a claim made by a survivor if the survivor dies, or make a claim on a survivor’s behalf if there is clear evidence that the survivor intended to apply to the scheme or had taken other steps to make a claim before their death
- prioritise claims from elderly or seriously ill survivors, including making urgent interim payments to those survivors where appropriate.
Abuse covered by the scheme
The scheme should cover physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, racial and cultural abuse, along with neglect, in State and faith-based care, including indirect State care. In our opinion, this would include matters such as wrongful detention in care. Our terms of reference refer to neglect and all these types of abuse, apart from racial and cultural abuse, which we consider to be forms of emotional or psychological abuse. We make the following observations about these two types of abuse, together with neglect.
We consider neglect includes physical, emotional and psychological, medical, spiritual and educational neglect. The World Health Organisation has a comprehensive definition of neglect in the context of child abuse, and New Zealand law recognises a view of neglect that includes mental and emotional wellbeing. Cases have also considered neglect in the context of education, which could include not addressing long absences from school, a pattern of failing to get a child to school on time, or a pattern of not providing a child with clean clothing or sending a child to school unwashed, resulting in teasing by, or isolation from, other children. Neglect is typically a course of conduct, rather than a one-off act, and may be combined with abusive acts.
The Human Rights Act 1993 provides a useful definition. It makes “racial harassment” unlawful when it happens in particular places. It describes racial harassment as behaviour that:
- expresses hostility against, or brings into contempt or ridicule, any other person on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that person; and
- is hurtful or offensive to the person being harassed (whether or not the person communicates that to the harasser); and
- is either repeated, or of such a significant nature, that it has a detrimental effect on the person being harassed.
Many survivors were subjected to racial slurs and harassment. We consider a survivor who experienced this type of harassment while in care should be able to seek redress from the scheme. A survivor may have a claim under the Human Rights Act 1993, but in our view should also have the option of seeking redress for it instead of, or as well as, taking that claim.
We consider cultural abuse can be defined as:
- disconnection from culture, language, whakapapa or identity as a result of being placed in care institutions where a survivor’s own culture is not recognised or where their cultural connections are actively discouraged
- misidentification of ethnicity or cultural identity by a care institution denying a survivor knowledge of their culture, language, whakapapa or identity
- discriminatory or harmful treatment, including systemic or overt racism, by a caregiver or care institution because of a survivor’s cultural identity.
No seriousness requirement
We examined whether the scheme should accept only serious abuse because a broader definition would greatly expand the number of claims likely to be made to it, which would require more resources and potentially cause delays. However, such a qualification would be inconsistent with the principle of manaakitia kia tipu, showing care and compassion for those abused, no matter how serious the abuse was. Furthermore, it would amount to focusing on the actions of the abuser instead of the impact on the survivor, and it would be difficult to define serious abuse. We therefore consider there should be no seriousness requirement, although the nature of the abuse and, where relevant, the impact of the abuse on a survivor will be relevant to what puretumu torowhānui redress that person receives.
When abuse happened
The scheme should cover historic, contemporary and future abuse claims, historic being before 2000, contemporary being from 2000 to 2021, and future being 2022 onwards. Some survivors, of course, suffered abuse spanning more than one of these periods. Overseas redress schemes have typically had a defined coverage period, but we consider a different approach is needed. Historical abuse should be covered because survivors of such abuse may not be eligible for accident compensation payments based on when the abuse happened. They may also have the most difficulty obtaining evidence of abuse and overcoming limitation period defences. A puretumu torowhānui scheme may also be the only remedy for these survivors, even under a revamped civil litigation regime (discussed later).
More generally, we consider survivors should not be treated differently based on when the abuse happened. Here, we are guided by the principles of mahia kia tika and he mana tō tēnā, tō tēnā - ahakoa ko wai. Also, setting a cut-off date would be difficult to determine, could be seen as arbitrary, and could create unfairness. Excluding contemporary and future abuse claims could only be justified, in our view, when there is evidence the scheme is no longer needed, which is not the case at present. Funding an open-ended scheme is nothing new – State agencies do this already with their out-of-court claims processes. Public submissions broadly supported our view on this question.
Access to puretumu torowhānui should not depend on the institution in which a survivor was abused. The scheme should therefore cover all those who suffered abuse in the care of State and faith-based institutions, and this includes private care providers and other organisations, such as Stand Tū Māia and disability community care providers, to which the State passed on its care functions in any way.
19. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should cover:
- physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, racial and cultural abuse in care, along with neglect, which may include medical, spiritual and educational neglect
- historical, contemporary and future claims of abuse in care.
20. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should, regardless of whether an institution still exists or has funds, cover abuse in:
- any State agency that assumed responsibility, either directly or indirectly, for the care of an individual when they were abused, including:
- State schools
- any individual, or any private, public or non-governmental organisation, including a service provider, to which the State passed on its authority or care functions, whether by delegation, contract, licence or in any other way
- any faith-based institution that assumed responsibility for the care of an individual when they were abused.
Participation of faith-based and indirect State care providers
Faith-based institutions and indirect State care providers need to be held to account for the abuse of those in their care, and participation in the scheme is one way to do this. Some have already indicated their intention to join on moral grounds, and we consider it reasonable to give others the opportunity to join on a voluntary basis. These other institutions may also be persuaded by the advantages of not having to run their own claims processes or by the realisation their contribution to the scheme may be lower than the cost of defending claims in court.
Overseas experience, however, has shown that some institutions don’t join redress schemes promptly or willingly. In Australia, legislation stemming from the royal commission into sexual abuse gave institutions two years to join. Some took a long time to join, forcing some survivors’ claims to be put on hold until they did.
In Australia, institutions that did not join that country’s National Redress Scheme, risked losing their charitable status, charitable tax concessions and government grant funding. The risk of such sanctions motivated some institutions to join the scheme. We consider the Crown should give institutions a reasonable period of time, say four to six months, to join voluntarily. If they do not, the Crown should consider incentives to encourage participation and, failing that, compel participation.
21. The Crown should give faith-based institutions and indirect State care providers a reasonable opportunity, say four to six months, to join the puretumu torowhānui scheme voluntarily before considering, if necessary, options to encourage or compel participation, including:
- not offering contracts to non-participating institutions
- terminating or not renewing any contracts with them
- revoking their charitable status
- making participation in the scheme compulsory.
Communicating with survivors
Survivors are a diverse group of individuals. Many may be hard to reach and communicate with, for reasons including disability or personal circumstances. A further barrier is the deep distrust many feel towards organisations in general. This makes it all the more important that the scheme is good at explaining what it does, who can make a claim, and how to go about making a claim. Active and well-targeted communications, engagements and promotions strategies will be essential to ensuring as many survivors as possible learn about the scheme and what it has to offer.
These policies and plans must recognise the specific challenges and circumstances of different survivor communities. Specific strategies will be needed for communicating with Māori survivors, whānau and communities, including strategies for reaching Māori in prisons, forensic mental health, youth justice and child protection residences.
Disabled survivors, many of whom may be in life-long or long-term care, often have significant communication difficulties. They may have low literacy or rely on non-verbal forms of communication. They may not understand what abuse or neglect is or have the language to describe it. It will take particular skill and attention to reach this group of people and help them make informed decisions. The review of the Australian National Redress scheme noted the concern that guardians and support workers – particularly of those living in supported accommodation – may be unwilling to tell disabled survivors about redress (whether because of the sensitivity of the subject of abuse or out of self-interest). It also noted that those living in disability institutions often relied on carers and workers for information. This adds yet another challenge to the task of communicating with this group. Some disabled people may be living in institutions where they are being, or have been, abused, and they may be concerned that disclosing abuse will affect the quality of their future care or put them at risk. Education sessions for disabled people should be part of this communication work and should cover what abuse is, what the scheme does, and what the scheme can do to safeguard disabled people who are still in care when they make a claim.
Specific communication strategies will be needed to reach Pacific peoples, those from different cultures, homeless people, people in prison, people living overseas, and people with learning disability, neurodiversities, low levels of literacy and communication support needs. Survivor advocacy groups may be called on to help reach these groups.
22. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should:
- extensively and proactively publicise, on an ongoing basis, what it does, how to contact it, the types and levels of redress and support available, eligibility and assessment criteria, and timeframes for making decisions on claims
- develop specific strategies to communicate with survivors, including running specialist education sessions for disabled people about the scheme and what constitutes abuse
- develop specific strategies to communicate with Māori survivors and their whānau, hapū, iwi and hapori (communities)
- actively reach out to disabled survivors including disabled survivors in long-term or life-long care
- offer easy-to-read information in a variety of accessible formats about how the scheme works
- ensure a supported decision-making process is available for disabled people that is consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including, where necessary, by providing dedicated support and communication assistance.
Scheme’s interactions with survivors
The puretumu torowhānui scheme should take what we call a trauma-informed approach to its interactions with survivors. This means putting survivors’ needs first and taking care to do no harm to them. It also means listening to them, communicating clearly with them, giving them choice about how they interact with the scheme and what support they receive. As well, it means ensuring survivors have control over how, when, in what form and to whom they disclose abuse. Recognising symptoms of trauma is vital, too. The scheme must make survivors feel safe and welcome. It must make them feel they are a person, not a file. The Māori Collective may want to offer its view on what a trauma-informed approach looks like from a te ao Māori perspective.
The scheme should as far as possible ensure each survivor deals with one individual only, thereby building up a relationship of trust and understanding. This individual will keep the survivor updated on the progress of their claim and answer any questions along the way. A single point of contact also minimises the number of times a survivor will have to recount details of the abuse and any other personal matters.
The scheme’s staff, including its claim assessors, and providers should also interact with survivors in a culturally meaningful, respectful and safe way. A suitably skilled workforce, including staff with lived experience, will be essential.
Some survivors may want to withdraw their claim or put it on hold temporarily and they should be supported in any such decision. Collaborative decision-making should be a feature of the way the scheme works. Survivors with decision-making impairments may need extra support to make their own informed decisions about how they interact with the scheme and the type of claim they make.
23. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should:
- be trauma-informed and flexible, give survivors choices and empower them to make decisions
- minimise any barriers to obtaining redress
- be timely, give accurate estimates of timeframes and regularly update survivors on the progress of their claim
- allow survivors to be flexible about when they start, put on hold and resume their claim
- be respectful of, and responsive to, the cultures of all survivors, including Māori, Pacific peoples and Deaf people
- support survivors to make their own informed decisions throughout the claims process, particularly those with decision-making impairments
- have enough suitably trained staff so that each survivor ideally needs to contact just one person about their needs
- minimise the number of times survivors must recount the tūkino or abuse, harm and trauma suffered.
Support when making a claim
The principle of manaakitia kia tipu should imbue all aspects of the culture and functioning of the scheme so survivors feel safe and supported as they go through the process of making a claim – something many may find difficult because of the tūkino they have suffered. This support should be available from the outset. What form it takes will depend on the circumstances and wishes of each survivor. Some survivors may need a dedicated person, or navigator, to help them understand the redress process. They may have communication and literacy difficulties and may struggle to understand and complete forms. Many will need a translator and culturally appropriate support. Disabled survivors – particularly those living in residential care – may have more complex needs. The scheme must adapt its work practices to their needs, not the other way around. They must have the same access to physical environments, information and communication, and other facilities and services that the public has. Specialist support – such as interpreters, supported decision-making assistance and communication tools – should be available, too, when needed.
All survivors should have access to counselling and psychological care, the services of social workers and navigators, help obtaining and understanding records, legal advice, non-legal advocacy, help making a claim, help contacting survivor support groups, and any other practical help. Free counselling and other appropriate psychological and therapeutic care should be offered throughout the claims process and, where necessary, afterwards. A survivor’s whānau should also have access to free counselling. For disabled survivors still in care, the scheme must ensure there is no risk of retribution or diminished care in making a claim (see below).
Agencies and individuals providing support services need to be independent of the scheme so they can advocate on survivors’ behalf when dealing with the scheme. This would also avoid the need for the scheme to have too many disparate functions. An Australian service provider, knowmore, may be a good model to follow as it helps survivors of institutional sexual abuse make claims. It offers free legal advice and other support services.
Many survivors will benefit from help to obtain their personal records from institutions. They often don’t know where to go and who to ask for their records. Sometimes several organisations hold their records, which can be stored at different locations and have different procedures for accessing them. Some organisations no longer exist, and their files have been transferred elsewhere. Prisoners and survivors with disabilities find this task particularly difficult. Understanding the files can be a further hurdle for survivors with learning disability or poor literacy skills. Some survivors may need help making complaints to the Privacy Commissioner or to an ombudsman about accessing their records. Others may need help exercising rights under the Privacy Act 1993 to, for example, ask agency to correct personal information held about them or to include in their file a statement setting out what they think is the correct version of events.
Many survivors need emotional support when they read their files because they detail confronting and emotional experiences, including hurtful or disparaging material about them or their whānau. Some survivors discover incorrect or previously unknown information on their files. Survivors should receive counselling and other appropriate psychological care when they receive records and for a reasonable period afterwards.
Free legal advice and non-legal advocacy should be available to all survivors. This should not depend on eligibility for legal aid to avoid creating a barrier to redress. Lawyers and advocates working with disabled people need to be appropriately trained to work with such clients.
Some survivors who approach the scheme may want to make a complaint to Police, the employer of their abuser or the relevant disciplinary body, and in such cases the scheme should give them the information and support so they can take this step.
The scheme should put in place a safeguarding framework to ensure disabled people are not at risk of retribution or lower levels of care by the organisation they are making a claim about, since many continue to live in long-term care in those organisations. Before the scheme shares any information about a claim filed by a disabled survivor, a specialist advocate should assess whether disclosure of the claim to the organisation concerned would result in the individual being at risk of harm, violence, abuse or neglect.
Survivors may also need such immediate practical help as access to safe housing, food, medical care and childcare and managing debt or fines before they can make a claim. The scheme should arrange for social workers and navigators to help survivors meet these needs. Some survivors may benefit from being linked in with survivor support groups. The specific types of support will depend on the needs of each survivor and their whānau. The scheme may facilitate help completing forms, attending meetings, deciding whether to accept a puretumu torowhānui offer, participating in any review, and receiving an apology.
24. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should have processes in place so that survivors and their whānau who interact with it receive manaakitia kia tipu.
25. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should provide support services that are free, flexible, culturally appropriate and tailored to individual needs to help survivors, and where appropriate whānau, understand the tūkino and make a claim, including:
- counselling and psychological care, including when survivors receive their records, and for a reasonable period afterwards
- social workers and navigators to help meet any immediate needs
- free independent legal advice, irrespective of eligibility for legal aid and non-legal advocacy, including advocacy for disabled people that meets the requirements of articles 13(1) and (2) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- help to obtain and understand personal records
- advocates for survivors in their dealings with organisations holding their records
- help to get in touch with survivor support groups
- support to make complaints about alleged abusers
- interpreters, translators, supported decision-making and communication assistance
- safeguards to ensure disabled survivors in care are safe from any retribution for making a claim
- help, as necessary, to make complaints to the Privacy Commissioner or an ombudsman.
Most survivors told us about the benefits of discussing their abuse with someone in a safe and non-judgemental setting. One example they cited was their one-on-one session with commissioners. Another was the former Confidential Listening and Advice Service. In our view, there will continue to be a need for an outlet of some sort well into the future, and we therefore consider the puretumu torowhānui scheme should offer a listening service to survivors. Some may want to use this service only and not make a claim. But if they change their mind, the scheme can, with their consent, use the information they have disclosed as part of their claim, thereby minimising the number of times they have to describe their abuse. The scheme will need to keep this function separate from its other work, have staff whose skills include skills specific to this service, and ensure information disclosed through the service is protected.
26. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should offer a listening service to survivors so they can talk about their experiences of tūkino, or abuse, harm and trauma, in a private and non-judgemental setting.
27. The puretumu torowhānui scheme should, if survivors wish, use information disclosed to the listening service in support of their claim for puretumu torowhānui.
Next: Two routes to puretumu torowhānui