Dunedin survivors get a repulsive slap in the face

Dunedin survivors

Not holding a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care hearing in Dunedin is a “repulsive slap in the face” for Southern survivors, says the Network of Survivors in Faith-Based Institutions.

According to the ODT, the South and Dunedin in particular are considered one of the country’s epicentres for child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

There was no mention or comment about the Presbyterian, Anglican and other Christian churches.

The Survivors Network told the ODT that the Commission is failing to meet its obligations.

Network spokesman Dr Murray Heasley (pictured) said it was ‘‘astonishing’’ Dunedin would not host hearings.

‘‘It is a massive dereliction of duty and a repulsive slap in the face for all of the victim-survivors who reported thinking they would be listened to, validated and respected.

‘‘It seems the victims of the south are not considered as worthy of healing and redress as their brothers and sisters in the north.’’

He compared Dunedin to Ballarat, Australia, where a similar church abuse scandal was uncovered.

It served as a case study for the Australian equivalent of the commission, one of 57 case studies it produced.

‘‘Our Abuse in Care Royal Commission, by comparison, has produced exactly zero case studies.

“Allow me to repeat that. Zero. None”, said Heasley.

‘‘The case studies were not simple victim-survivor statements added as appendices but major royal commission involvement at every level in situ to make the whole process accessible to the targeted community, not limited to Auckland,’’ he said.

However, the Royal Commission says it has engaged with many Dunedin survivors and is committed to investigating their claims. Commission chair Judge Coral Shaw said it was an inquiry for all of Aotearoa, including the people of Otepoti.

‘‘The inquiry’s investigations span the country and participation is not limited to where someone lives — all people in this country are able to share their experiences with our investigation teams.

‘‘We want to reassure Dunedin-based survivors of abuse in the care of the Catholic Church (whether currently in Dunedin or living elsewhere) — and other survivors around the country — that you are important to the inquiry.’’

Shaw told the ODT all survivors from all parts of the country can give evidence at the Auckland hearings.

She said the Commission funds flights and accommodation for survivors and a support person and that financial assistance is also given to survivors required to attend.

Source ODT

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