Royal Commission of Inquiry Terms of Reference

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Royal Commission of Inquiry on Historical Abuse in Care Chairman and former Governor General of New Zealand Sir Anand Satyanand has said that he has filed a report with the Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin about his consultations with the public on the Terms of Reference of the Commission.

The following is a Statement issued by him:

These consultations began in February and were supported by a public awareness programme seeking submissions from the public.

Diverse sources of opinion

I received 400 submissions in writing, by phone and at face to face interviews.

Half of the submissions were from survivors of abuse or from people on behalf of survivors. Many came from institutions and entities with views to offer such as the Law Societies, the Churches, and people professionally associated with social work.

I would like to thank everyone who shared their views on what the Terms of Reference should contain.

I was impressed by the thoughtfulness, wisdom and often the courage involved.

The report is now in the hands of the Minister and her officials.

The next steps

The release of my report is a matter for the Minister.

The next step is for Cabinet to agree on a final Terms of Reference the terms of which will be formally notified by the Minister. At that time the names of the other Commissioners who will join me in the work will also be announced.

That information will be published in a Gazette Notice after which the Royal Commission can begin its principal work.

Background to the Royal Commission

As reported on February 2, 2018, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand will chair a Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse in state care.

Ms Ardern and Minister for Children Tracey Martin provided details of the Inquiry, which was formally established on February 1, 2018.

“This is a chance to confront our history and make sure we do not make the same mistakes again. It is a significant step towards acknowledging and learning from the experiences of those who have been abused in state care,” Ms Ardern said.

Scope of Inquiry

The Royal Commission will cover circumstances where the state directly ran institutions such as child welfare institutions, borstals or psychiatric hospitals, and where the government contracted services out to other institutions. Groups of survivors have said they want an inquiry to cover places like religious institutions and sports clubs.

Following a consultation period, the Cabinet will make a final decision on the Terms of Reference, the additional inquiry members and its final budget.

The Royal Commission will start considering evidence once the Terms of Reference are finalised and published.

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Photo of Sir Anand Satyanand from file

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