ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO ABUSE IN CARE REPORT OFFERS VINDICATION AND HOPE FOR SURVIVORS
Cooper Legal welcomes the interim report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, which was released today. He Purapura Ora, he Māra Tipu – From Redress to Puretumu Torowhānui vindicates the complaints by survivors about the redress processes of State and Faith-based entities, and sets out a vision for restoring the mana, wellbeing and dignity of survivors of abuse in care.
“The Royal Commission’s interim report focuses on how the State and Faith-based institutions have responded to claims of abuse in care” says Sonja Cooper, Principal Partner of Cooper Legal. “What the Royal Commission has found is that the response to accounts of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults is not just inadequate, but harmful, re-traumatising and unfair. The Royal Commission makes damning findings about how the State and Faith-based entities treat survivors of abuse in care”.
The Royal Commission has introduced the concept of puretumu torowhānui, a holistic approach to redress which seeks to restore a person’s mana and dignity, to help them heal from trauma and to provide financial compensation which is fair and truly reflects the harm done to them.
“We welcome the Government’s commitment to implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations” said Amanda Hill, Partner of Cooper Legal. “However, this should not be a political issue. The abuse of children and vulnerable people in care happened under every government and we call on all political parties to support the implementation and resourcing of puretumu torowhānui for the benefit of survivors, their whānau, and our community” says Hill. “This form of holistic redress moves beyond individual compensation to an approach which seeks to heal and restore. If we do this right, we have an opportunity to properly address the harm done, and see that mahi reflected in reduced poverty, reduced prison populations, lower violence statistics and, on the other hand, happier and healthier communities”.
Both Sonja Cooper and Amanda Hill urge that the design and implementation of the puretumu torowhānui scheme is done with urgency. “We have 1,637 clients currently, and we are overwhelmed by survivors seeking redress. Clients frequently die while they are waiting for their claim to be resolved” says Cooper. “At the same time, we are contacted by a new survivor every day. The numbers are overwhelming. We urge the Government to waste no time in starting this important mahi”.
“We also support the Royal Commission’s call for a national apology for survivors, which must be given by the Governor-General and the Prime Minister” says Hill. “Apologies cannot happen in isolation and must be part of a suite of measures designed to heal the harm done to generations of survivors. Without the resourcing and commitment, any apology would be hollow”.
Both Cooper and Hill agree that the recommendations of the Royal Commission were the first hope that survivors have had in decades. “It is important that we implement a strong, well-resourced and independent scheme which addresses the needs of survivors and is designed with survivors at the forefront. We have to do this right, but we also have to do this with urgency” says Cooper.