Tautoko  Roadmap

Responding to the recommendations and themes arising from the Royal Commission

Te Rōpū Tautoko (Tautoko) heard in the early stages of the Inquiry the Commissioners say that the Inquiry's work is part of a vision to transform care today and into the future.

Tautoko has also heard from survivors and their advocates that the Catholic Church can do something more than wait for the Commission to make recommendations or for the government to respond.

Acknowledging this, bishops and congregational leaders (church leaders) have been active in responding to the themes that have arisen from the Commission’s work, especially from survivors.

After the release of the Commission’s interim Redress Report and the completion of the Marylands Hearing, Tautoko released a roadmap of of actions that church leaders had agreed. Following the final public hearing of the inquiry in October 2022, church leaders have reviewed progress, refined actions, and made further commitments.

To view the January 2023 statement of church leaders click here

As the Commissioners said at the beginning of the Inquiry, transformation of care cannot occur until “we turn and squarely face the reality of our dark and uncomfortable shared history” [[1]], Tautoko recognise that the Commission process will not be “easy nor quick” [1].

[1] cf Address by Commissioners' #84,
Royal Commission into Abuse in Care
Preliminary Hearing,
25 June 2019.
Read the PDF on the Royal Commission's website.

This page sets out the approach, commitments, and actions that Tautoko calls a roadmap. Tautoko is committed to assisting, and if required challenging, church leaders to implement these actions and more.

As we approach the end of the Inquiry Te Rōpū Tautoko has updated and will in June 2024 hand over this Roadmap to the Catholic bishops and congregational leaders of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Any actions that are completed will be added to the Implemented section of this Roadmap. Many actions are ongoing tasks that will require multiple steps over many years. Some items are commitments that underpin other action. There will always be more to reflect on and improve, even when a specific task is completed. Therefore, the Implemented section should be seen as an evolving record of progress to date, not the final word on any matter.

There is always work to do, improvements to be made, and a road to be built, even as we walk it.

E peke ki wāhi kē

  • He whakataki
  • Principles of Approach
  • Chronology of the Church response to abuse in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • The Roadmap Actions
  • Implemented Actions

Principles of Approach

The bishops and congregational leaders (church leaders) believe that every person has an innate human dignity (te tapu o te tangata), therefore:

  • regard all forms of abuse as unacceptable and indefensible
  • accept the responsibility to continue to act to stop abuse in the Church
  • listen to, learn from, and support survivors
  • act swiftly on complaints and follow them through
  • ensure action on accountability is followed through for those who are proven responsible for abuse
  • support the need for the Inquiry and actively cooperate with the Commission
  • commit to ensuring transparency

The following additional principles guide the roadmap:

As a result of the Commission's reports and the witness accounts, church leaders have identified opportunities to review their approach.

Tautoko aimed to support church leaders achieve:

  • A comprehensive response to the themes, findings and recommendations arising from the Royal Commission's Inquiry.
  • Reviews of church structures that respond to reports of abuse.
  • Reduced barriers for survivors in making disclosures and accessing redress.
  • Improvement of church redress processes that follow from reports of abuse.
  • Successful transitions to the new system of redress.
  • Development of the Church’s documented record on responding abuse and developing safeguarding, other research, and educational material.

The bishops and congregational leaders:

  • acknowledge the Inquiry as an opportunity to continue to engage with survivors, bolster efforts of safeguarding, and re-shape the response to reports and of abuse – historical, contemporary, and into the future.
  • acknowledge and undertake to seriously consider the fundamental concerns raised by the Inquiry during the Inquiry and it’s final report.
  • address the Inquiry's recommendations by continuing engagement with stakeholders including survivors and their advocates, those tasked with establishing the system and scheme, Government, subject matter experts, and relevant agencies and entities in the Church.

Tautoko offer encouragement for the implementation of resulting actions for those tasked with the work.

Some actions that were raised in the hearings of the inquiry have already been implemented. Tautoko also recognise that significant efforts have been and are continually being made to address historical complaints of abuse and safeguarding of children, young people, and vulnerable adults. These efforts have resulted in significant change and improvement over the last 30 years.

The National Office of Professional Standards (NOPS) on behalf of the National Safeguarding and Professional Standards Committee (NSPSC) have a principle of continual review of process to improve outcomes. This work continues and is regularly reviewed.

To see the chronology of the Catholic Church response to abuse in Aotearoa New Zealand click here.

The Assessment of the Safeguarding Culture Standards of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand is another, and comprehensive, review. See www.tautoko.catholic.org.nz/assessment.

The challenge, today, to all in the Church is to become more and more survivor-informed and survivor-responsive. This includes understanding the nature of trauma arising from abuse and the life long, intergenerational, and community-wide impact.

The Roadmap Actions and Commitments

1. Responding to the Royal Commission

1.1 Te Rōpū Tautoko (Tautoko), on behalf of church leaders, has facilitated engagement on the recommendations of the Interim Redress Report. It is now for church leaders to implement commitments made.

1.2 Church leaders, through advisory groups and the ongoing work of the National Safeguarding and Professional Standards Committee (NSPSC), are ready to consider the recommendations of the Inquiry’s Final Report and will ensure that action follows consideration.

2. Reviewing structures

2.1 The National Safeguarding and Professional Standards Committee (NSPSC), and the National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) to NSPSC to identify resource needs for the transition to the proposed redress system when details of the system are public.

2.2 NSPSC and NOPS, through ongoing review of A Path to Healing, are developing the Church’s protocols to reflect what has been heard and learned from survivors, through the Commission, NSPSC and NOPS will also review the protocol to respond to the Assessment of Safeguarding Culture Standards and any new redress system being developed by Government.

2.3 NSPSC and NOPS to continually review the overall governance of the Church’s system to respond to reports of abuse.

2.4 Church leaders have committed to support the establishment of an independent entity that reviews and monitors the Church’s redress processes for those survivors who take this option. They also support an independent process that reviews and monitors safeguarding systems of Church institutions.

2.5 On behalf of church leaders, Te Rōpū Tautoko (TRT) engaged GCPS consulting to conduct an assessment of the implementation of the Safeguarding Culture Standards of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand. As the Assessment is completed, resulting initiatives will be added to this Roadmap. See https://tautoko.catholic.org.nz/assessment/ for more

3. Reducing barriers to disclosures of abuse

3.1 NOPS to support bishops and congregational leaders identify institutions and communities where significant abuse has reported to have occurred.

3.2 NSPSC continue to consider and work through options for the development of specific processes, including:

  1. a clearly defined pathway for reports of all types of abuse, no matter where they arise and who they are alleged against, to be defined.
  2. the resource and other implications if the APTH jurisdiction were extended beyond sexual abuse by clergy and religious.
  3. establishment of a role for actively monitoring safety plans or other outcomes of any disciplinary actions.

3.3 Church leaders have outlined support for the option of an independent entity for survivors to report abuse and gain redress where they wish to do so.

3.4 Church leaders are working towards consistency in redress responses between Catholic Church entities.

3.5 Church leaders have stated support for proposals for mandatory reporting of reports of abuse in care settings for children, young people, and vulnerable people; acknowledging that significant work needs to be undertaken as to how, when and to whom reports are made. They note that exemptions will need to continue to exist for some settings to protect legal, confessional, and therapeutic privilege.

    4. Improvement of processes

    4.1 As part of the review of APTH (See 2.2) a procedure, which seeks to enable (through seeking consent of the third party) relevant material relating to a third party to be released to survivors, to be developed.

    4.2 Tautoko will make recommendations on a database of standardised information on reports of abuse made to or held centrally and confidentially for the Church. Recommendations will consider the principles of care, privacy and security, structure, and a business case. This will consider historical reports and reports going forward.

    4.3 Tautoko will make proposals on retention and access policies for all material held by Tautoko gathered for the purposes of responding to the Commission.

    4.4 NSPSC to continue the development of agreed criteria for removal of honorifics and a formal definition of credibly accused.

    5. Supporting Leadership

    5.1 Material will be prepared for dioceses and congregations to understand the proposed changes to legislation and civil claims arising from the Inquiry's Final Report. 

    5.2 NOPS to continue facilitating training, on an ongoing basis, for Church leaders and staff on trauma informed ways of working. 

    6. Development of research and educational material

    6.1 Tautoko to propose and develop frameworks for other research that may be required following the release of the Inquiry's Final Report.

    Implemented Roadmap Actions

    • Translation of NOPS materials. See https://safeguarding.catholic.org.nz/documents-policies/
    • Survivors only share their experiences of abuse once, unless survivors want or need to share more information to aid their report of abuse. Now established practice and includes statements made to inquiry, NZ Police, or regulatory body if the survivor wishes for them to be provided.
    • Consultations on Redress with survivors, advocates, the Crown Response Unit, and the Commission.
    • Church leaders supported, in principle, the proposals made to the Commission for an independent redress body prior to the release of the Inquiry's Report.
    • Engagement with the Crown Response Unit established on the recommendations of the Inquiry's Redress Report
    • Engagement with survivors and their advocates established on the recommendations of the Inquiry's Redress Report.
    • NOPS continue efforts to liaise with NZ Police policy teams around police procedures in relation to allegations of abuse in Catholic institutions.
    • NOPS continue efforts to liaise with the Ministry of Education sensitive claims teams around procedures in relation to allegations of abuse in Catholic institutions.
    • NOPS has sought, received, and implemented advice on new processes to incorporate the latest directives outlined in Vatican documents Vos Estis Lux Mundi (2019), the Vademecum (2020), and other changes to the Code of Canon Law.
    • Workshops on trauma-informed ways of working being offered to key staff involved in redress processes.
    • NOPS continues with ongoing review of A Path to Healing and developing the Church’s protocols to reflect what has been heard and learned from survivors, especially through the Commission.
    • NOPS undertaking initial inquiries to identify institutions and communities where significant abuse has reported to have occurred.
    • Initial processes established to assist those responsible for identified institutions and communities proactively develop pathways for survivors to safely make reports of abuse to be developed.
    • External reviews, by NOPS, of church entities look at pathways to enable reports of all types of abuse, no matter where they arise and who they are alleged against, to be made.
    • Review of Privacy Act implications of information sharing underway, including engagement with the Crown Response Unit.
    • Tautoko transition plan process established (including recommendations on data and information retention)
    • Training facilitated for church leaders and staff on trauma informed ways of working. NOPS continuing to develop this training, involving subject matter experts.
    • A published paper, in a canon law journal, explores the relationship between the leadership of religious institutes (and other forms of church structure including schools) and bishops.
    • Church leaders have requested that school boards notify proprietors of claims of serious disciplinary matters of inappropriate behaviour (whether a student, volunteer, employee, or teacher), through a regular reporting mechanism.
    • A policy, to assist schools when naming buildings, prizes or other items after bishops, clergy and/or religious, and displaying photos/portraits and honorifics (such as honour boards) is in place.
    • Tautoko commissioned research work into disabled peoples experience of care in the Catholic Church, see report here
    • Tautoko has developed detailed proposals for a liaison entity to engage with the redress system and independent redress scheme that emerges from the Redress Report.
    • Church leaders have collectively committed to enhancing survivor care and having a support-focused approach to reports of abuse.
    • Audits of disciplinary outcomes and safety plans of living respondents has been undertaken.
    • Audits have been undertaken of buildings and facilities where memorials or honorifics or photographs may exist of individuals who are known to have perpetrated abuse.
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