Apology to Victims & Survivors of Abuse from Church Leaders
Closing Statement at Phase 2 of the Faith-based Redress Hearing
The Aotearoa Catholic Te Rōpū Tautoko exists to co-ordinate and manage cooperation between the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care and the Catholic Church in Aotearoa, represented by the Catholic Bishops and Congregational Leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Te Rōpū Tautoko is independent from the Royal Commission. It coordinates the response of the Catholic Church to the Royal Commission, and is not a support group for survivors. Survivors seeking support can contact the Royal Commission directly on their website.
“We participate in the processes of the Inquiry acknowledging those who have been wounded in our care. Because of, not in spite of, our own brokenness in regard to abuse we offer our lessons. They come from a place of deep humility and sorrow. All we have to offer is our own experiences and the call to justice, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, Hēhu Karaiti.
We recognise that the way to learn lessons for today and the future is to examine, understand, acknowledge and address what has occurred. We must, collectively, work towards healing.”
The Bishops and Congregational Leaders of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand
“…I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike…
…The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.”
Pope Francis, August 2018
The Church takes all complaints of abuse seriously. Complaints of sexual abuse against church personnel in New Zealand are referred to the Church’s National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS).
Increased publicity can be the catalyst for people to come forward. We encourage anyone who has been abused by a priest or religious to contact them, for your story to be heard and your complaint to be investigated. Alternately you may choose to go directly to the Police, and the Church will support anyone who requires assistance to do this.
Phone: 0800 114 622
Recognising the importance of survivors having absolute clarity regarding being able to fully tell their story to the Royal Commission, Te Rōpū Tautoko recommended to the Bishops and Congregational Leaders that they establish a process, similar to the Crowns, to enable all survivors to participate fully in the Commission.
The full text of the Waiver is available by downloading the following document.
Phase One: Monday 30 November 2020 to Friday 11 December 2020
Phase Two: Monday 15 March 2021 to Monday 29 March 2021
Phase One focused on evidence from survivors of abuse in faith-based institutions about their experience of seeking redress. Phase Two focused on evidence on redress processes from witnesses called on behalf of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and the Salvation Army New Zealand.
of the Royal Commission
The Royal Commission has announced ten investigations. Some of these are ‘case studies’, which look at a specific example or institution. Others are ‘thematic investigations’, looking at broad themes which carry across multiple settings.
The investigations are:
- Redress – State and faith
- Māori experiences of abuse in care
- Pacific People’s experience of abuse in care
- Abuse in children’s state residential care
- Abuse in State Psychiatric Care
- Case study examining abuse at the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit
- Abuse in disability care and the experience of people with disabilities
- Abuse in the care of the Catholic Church
- Case study examining abuse of children at Marylands School
- Abuse in the care of the Anglican Church
The Public Hearings of the Royal Commission are opportunities for public, in-depth examination of why and how abuse occurred. A number of hearings have already taken place and records of what took place there can be found on the Royal Commission’s website.
The following upcoming hearings have been announced:
Abuse in State children’s residential care
Tuesday 27 April 2021 to Friday 7 May 2021
Abuse in State psychiatric care
Monday 14 June 2021 to Friday 25 June 2021