Royal Commission’s repeated delays insult abuse survivors

repeated delays

The Royal Commission into Abuse in Care’s repeated delays in producing its report insult abuse survivors.

That’s what Lake Alice survivor Paul Zentveld said when he heard the Government had extended the Commission’s report deadline for a second time.

The high-level inquiry was due to hand over its report by June this year. It will now report to the Governor-General by the end of March next year.

The extension is necessary as more evidence emerged in the past year, the Commission says.

“The scale of abuse is beyond what anyone had ever imagined at the start of this inquiry,” inquiry chair Coral Shaw explained.

But Zentveld, who went to the United Nations Convention Against Torture about his abuse at Lake Alice, says survivors should not have been made to wait longer.

Enabling the Commission ‘s repeated delays was bad behaviour from the Government, he says. He describes it as a stalling tactic and denies justice to the survivors of state care and churches.

The Government needs to stop putting the survivors on hold, he says.

“Do the right thing by the all the survivors before we all die – and that is, pay for your crimes.”

Another survivor of abuse in state care, survivor advocate Keith Wiffin, sees the delay differently.

He’s grateful for the extension.

It means the the final report can be done in a way that will be fair and impactful for survivors. It will also consider how to ensure such abuse does not happen again, he says.

At the same time, Wiffin says survivors have waited far too long for acknowledgement, redress and an apology.

“I don’t see that as the fault of the Commission, but the procrastination of the officials,” he says.

He explained implementation could not be done by the Commission. “It has to be done by Government agencies, the Government and Churches.”

Meanwhile, a public apology to abuse survivors has also been delayed until after the Commission’s final report is delivered.

New co-chairs appointed

On Wednesday, the Crown Response Unit to the abuse in care inquiry announced two co-chairs have been appointed to a new survivor-led redress system.

Co-chair Dr Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll said survivors had been waiting a long time for redress.

While their work would not be affected by the Commission’s delay, getting redress would take time, she said.

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News category: New Zealand.

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