Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions

The work of the Royal Commission is progressing. The approach to abuse that occurred in faith-based settings are now in the Terms of Reference and are set out below.

Sir Anand Satyanand, Chair Royal Commission of Inquiry. CC-BY-SA-4.0

In the care of faith-based institutions means where a faith-based institution assumed responsibility for the care of an individual, including faith-based schools, and—

  1. for the avoidance of doubt, care provided by faith-based institutions excludes fully private settings, except where the person was also in the care of a faith-based institution:
  2. for the avoidance of doubt, if faith-based institutions provided care on behalf of the State (as described in clause 17.3(b) above), this may be dealt with by the inquiry as part of its work on indirect State care:
  3. as provided in clause 17.3(d) above, care settings may be residential or non-residential and may provide voluntary or non-voluntary care. The inquiry may consider abuse that occurred in the context of care but outside a particular institution’s premises:
  4. for the avoidance of doubt, the term ‘faith-based institutions’ is not limited to one particular faith, religion, or denomination. An institution or group may qualify as ‘faith-based’ if its purpose or activity is connected to a religious or spiritual belief system. The inquiry can consider abuse in faith-based institutions, whether they are formally incorporated or not and however they are described:
  5. for the avoidance of doubt, ‘abuse in faith-based care’ means abuse that occurred in New Zealand.

The Commission has welcomed the decision by the Government’s Chief Archivist to implement a disposal moratorium over any information held by government agencies that may be relevant to the Commission. This means that Government agencies are prohibited from disposing of potentially relevant information to make sure it is available. The Chief Archivist has emphasised the importance of ensuring no records which could be required by the Commission are disposed of. The commission also advises that the same expectation applies to faith-based institutions and all other bodies involved in providing care (for example non-government organisations).

The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is talking with the denominational leadership involved with responding to the faith-based aspects of the Inquiry.  It also working with the Crown Secretariat for the Historical Abuse Inquiry and with staff from the Royal Commission to support these organisations to communicate with our membership and to respond to their queries.

The Royal Commission’s website has additional information and a timeline of activities.