Church abusers dilute State responsibility


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told RNZ that state care survivors do not want their cases diluted by the Royal Commission looking into Church abuse.

She says however that the State is still consulting on the terms of reference and there is room for someone to have their say if they thought the Government was doing an “absolute disservice.”

Ardern’s comments came after calls for the Church to be included.

Critics say Ardern is going back on a pre-election promise.

The terms of the upcoming Royal Commission on abuse in state care excludes institutions such as churches – unless children were sent to them by the state.

Ardern said there is a significant difference between a child sent to a church-run institution by the state rather than by their parents.

Ardern told Morning Report the reason they made the distinction was that for thousands of children between the 1950s and late 1990s, the state was essentially a parent – therefore the state needed to take responsibility.

Ardern said church institutions will still be covered by the inquiry by virtue of the State sending them there.

“There is no doubt that there will be religious institutions who will be brought into the remit of this inquiry by virtue of the fact that children in state care may have in some form been sent there.

“This inquiry allows us to look into both what occurred to that child via the state, the state’s role in seeking to respond when that abuse was often raised and they didn’t always respond to it but also what actually happened with those institutions too.”

Ardern said the reason the government was focusing on children in state care was that the State called for the inquiry.

“The original impetus for this and what the Human Rights Commission pushed for, what those victims and survivors pushed for, did come from the place of  ‘you are the state and you have to be responsible for us so please undertake this piece of work’.

“They were also worried that, if we strayed too broadly, their case and their situation would be diluted and the state’s responsibility would be diluted.

“For the children who came from state care they wanted us to focus on our responsibilities.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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