Kia ora everyone and greetings for 2021 and the Year of the Ox.

We thought we would create a short article to raise your awareness of the work of the Abuse In Care Royal Commission of Inquiry. This is because as ACE providers you may know learners, or people in
learners’ whānau, who have experienced abuse while in care. This article aims to let you know where they can access support, tell their story, receive acknowledgement of their abuse, and if they choose to, help stop this abuse.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care was established in 2018 following the Government’s announcement. Sir Anand Satyanand was asked to consult on the draft terms of reference.

Between February and May of that year, Sir Anand consulted with survivors, interested parties and the New Zealand public.

Of the 400 submissions received, over half the submissions were from survivors of abuse, or from people on behalf of survivors. Many submissions advocated for expanding the scope to include non-state care. When the final terms of reference were announced, importantly, the Government had agreed to:

  • Extend the scope of the Inquiry to include faith-based institutions
  • Acknowledge the Treaty of Waitangi and
  • Allow the Commission discretion to consider issues and experiences prior to 1950 and after 1999.

Since then the Royal Commission has launched a series of investigations into abuse and neglect that occurred in State and faith-based care settings, and into specific themes and issues. These have allowed a comprehensive process to give a voice to those victims and survivors of abuse and neglect in care who want to share their experiences. The investigations provide the opportunity to look back and make findings about what happened and why, and also to look forward and make meaningful recommendations for change to the way New Zealand cares for children, young people and vulnerable adults. The Royal Commission understands the sensitivities and heaviness of the various contexts of Survivors’ stories and so there are a range of different ways of gathering information, including witness statements, research, roundtables, hui and fono, analysis of anonymised information from private sessions and written accounts, public hearings, submissions, and policy analysis.

Last year, the Royal Commission introduced a new way for Survivors to share their experience with the Inquiry in writing.

They have started a referral process, enabling survivors to get literacy support from Literacy Aotearoa, the Howard league Trust and the Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust.

These three providers were chosen because of the experience and empathy in working with people who have literacy needs. All three organisations operate nation-wide and have experience helping people who have learning or intellectual disabilities.

This article seeks your assistance please. Should you know anyone who is a Survivor of Abuse in Care, we would like you to help them to contact the Royal Commission on the freephone number 0800-222-727 or email to find out more about getting literacy support.

The Commission will then consider the most suitable provider to approach for each Survivor. The Commission appreciates that literacy support will give survivors better access to information about the Inquiry and provide support that helps them to share their experience of abuse or neglect in writing. By providing literacy support, we hope that more people who have experienced abuse or neglect in care can be heard.

Your assistance will help us to make a bigger difference so thank you – ngā manaakitanga i runga i a koutou katoa.

For more information,