Victims can take part in Royal Commission into state abuse without breaching Crown confidentiality causes

People abused state care and faith-based institutions bound by Crown confidentiality obligations can take part in the Royal Commission of Inquiry.


The Government announced today Crown agencies agreed to waive confidentiality clauses from abuse settlements for the inquiry. 

State Services Minister Chris Hipkins said the wavers would be implemented "so survivors can be confident about coming forward and speaking freely". 

"Survivors must be heard, and feel heard," he said. "The Commission must be able to question witnesses without them feeling tied down by any confidentiality obligations they may have signed with Crown agencies."

Those running the Royal Commission welcomed the move by Government, with the inquiry's Council Assist Simon Mount saying they requested the waver "to ensure survivors can share their experiences and effectively take part".

The wavers would only cover Crown agencies and would not include private care providers, school boards of trustees or district health boards. 

"Our expectation is that faith based institutions will follow the Crown’s lead and waive any confidentiality obligations for survivors of abuse in the care of faith based institutions," Mr Mount said.

"The same expectation applies to those bodies not covered by the Crown’s waiver, for example boards of trustees, DHBs and private care providers."

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse of children in state care and faith-based institutions was launched early last year. 

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the extension today. Source: 1 NEWS

The first interim report would still focus on state care, reporting back at the end of 2020.

The report looks at physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse, and neglect. Following consultation, it will look into inadequate care or improper treatment resulting in serious physical or mental harm. 

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A Royal Commission is reserved for the most serious issues of public importance.