Survivors losing faith after Sir Anand’s abuse inquiry resignation

Sir Anand Satyanand’s sudden resignation from the The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is being seen as a sign of the commission’s dysfunctionality, say survivors.

The say they’re losing faith that the Inquiry will uncover the extent of what happened to children in state and church care.

Some of them hope Sir Anand isn’t the only commissioner to step down.

Controversy has followed the Commission since it was set up early last year.

That includes appointing a gang member to a key role, using survivors for trial or pilot interviews, claims Sir Anand fell asleep while a survivor told their story and accusations commissioners shut down questions about potential conflicts of interest.

Sir Anand’s resignation is worrying, says social worker state care abuse survivor Paora Crawford Moyle.

It “makes [me] and probably my brothers … really wonder what’s going on in there and what else is to come,” she says.

“Are the cracks starting to appear?”

Moyle says she is concerned the work the Inquiry should be doing won’t get done because the Commission was having to spend so much time on damage control.

Another survivor, Anne Hill, says she has found it “re-traumatising and at times very frustrating because the issue of child abuse gets lost in issues about who has the power to speak now”. Liz Tonks from the network of survivors of abuse in faith-based institutions wants the problem fixed quickly.

“Any issue that needs to be resolved and isn’t straightforward and just doesn’t let them get on with the job is a setback. Survivors have been waiting for this for years,” she says.

Just who who will take over when Sir Anand leaves the Inquiry in November is of concern.

Dr Christopher Longhurst, a Catholic and national leader of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, is concerned Judge Coral Shaw, whom he has already found “dismissive”, might take Sir Anand’s place.

He will be telling other survivors to stay away if she takes over Sir Anand’s job, he says.

Moyle agrees, saying there are “scores of people already who won’t come forward … because of how the commissioners are treating survivors”.

A lawyer and youth advocate, Sonja Cooper, who will be providing expert evidence to the Commission disagrees with Moyle and Longhurst.

Cooper says in her view Shaw is eminently capable and would have learnt from past criticisms.

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News category: New Zealand.

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