- Principles of Approach
- The Roadmap Actions
- Implemented Actions
Responding to the recommendations and themes arising from the Royal Commission
Te Rōpū Tautoko has heard the call from the Commissioners that the Commission’s work is part of a vision to transform care today and into the future.
Tautoko has also heard the call 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, the bishops and congregational leaders (church leaders) have been active in listening to the themes that have arisen from the Commission’s work and especially from survivors.
This listening must translate into concrete actions that church leaders can implement, now.
With the release of the Commission’s interim Redress Report and the completion of the Marylands Hearing, Te Rōpū Tautoko have solidified their roadmap into a series of actions that church leaders have agreed on.
As the Commissioners have said since 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” [], Tautoko recognise that the Commission process will not be “easy nor quick” .
Therefore, this page sets out the approach and actions that Tautoko calls a roadmap. Tautoko is committed to assisting, and if required challenging, church leaders to implement these actions and more. They will evolve and be updated as more work is undertaken and commitments to action agreed.
Any actions that are completed will be added to the Implemented section. 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.
1. 'Address by Commissioners' #84, Royal Commission into Abuse in Care Preliminary Hearing, 25 June 2019. Read the PDF on the Royal Commission's website.
- 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 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:
Church leaders have been challenged by the processes of the Commission to change their approach to matters of addressing complaints of abuse.
Tautoko aim to support church leaders achieve:
- A comprehensive response to the Royal Commission’s Interim Reports and Final Report.
- Reviews of church structures that respond to reports of abuse.
- Reduced barriers for survivors in making disclosures and accessing redress.
- Improvement of of church redress processes that follow from reports of abuse.
- Supporting church leadership as they transition to the new System of redress.
- Development of research and educational material.
The bishops and congregational leaders:
- acknowledge the release of the Commission’s redress report as an opportunity to re-set the Church’s relationship with survivors, bolster efforts of safeguarding, and re-shape the response to reports and of abuse – historical, contemporary, and into the future.
- accept the fundamental concerns raised in the report, acknowledging that many of the findings are broad and may not apply in every case.
- wish to urgently address the report’s recommendations by establishing engagement through Te Rōpū Tautoko with stakeholders including survivors and their advocates, those tasked with establishing the system and scheme, Government, the Commission itself, subject matter experts, and relevant agencies and entities in the Church.
Many actions that were raised in earlier Commission Hearings 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 25 years. The National Office of Professional Standards on behalf of the National Safeguarding and Professional Standards Committee 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 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
1. Responding to the Royal Commission
1.1 Te Rōpū Tautoko, on behalf of church leaders, will lead engagement on the recommendations of the Redress Report with survivors and their advocates, those tasked with establishing the new system and scheme, Government, the Commission itself, subject matter experts, and relevant agencies and entities in the Church.
1.2 Te Rōpū Tautoko, the National Safeguarding and Professional Standards Committee (NSPSC), and the National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) to develop detailed proposals for a liaison entity to engage with the redress system and independent redress scheme that emerges from the Redress Report.
2. Reviewing structures
2.1 NSPSC and NOPS to identify resource needs for the transition to the proposed redress system.
2.2 NSPSC and NOPS, through ongoing review of A Path to Healing, will develop the Church’s protocols to reflect what has been heard and learned from survivors, through the Commission, and respond to the new redress system, puretumu torowhānui, to be developed by Government.
2.3 NSPSC and NOPS to review the overall governance of the Church’s system to respond to reports of abuse.
3. Reducing barriers to disclosures of abuse
3.1 NOPS and Te Rōpū Tautoko to support bishops and congregational leaders identify institutions and communities where significant abuse has reported to have occurred.
3.2 As part of the review of APTH (See 2.2):
- specific processes to assist those responsible for identified institutions and communities proactively develop pathways for survivors to safely make reports of abuse to be developed.
- 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.
4. Improvement of processes
4.1 All bishops and congregational leaders to immediately review of buildings and facilities where memorials or honorifics or photographs may exist of members who face allegations. Where potentially traumatic for survivors, honorifics or photographs should be removed immediately.
4.2 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.
4.3 Tautoko will develop recommendations on a database of standardised information on reports of abuse made to or held by NZCBC and CLCANZ members (or their agencies). Recommendations will consider the principles of care, privacy and security, structure, and a business case. This will consider historical reports and reports going forward.
4.4 Te Rōpū Tautoko to develop proposals on retention and access policies for all material held by Te Rōpū Tautoko gathered for the purposes of responding to the Commission.
5. Supporting Leadership
5.1 Te Rōpū Tautoko to prepare material for dioceses and congregations to understand the proposed changes to legislation and civil claims. Participation in the proposed redress scheme and the implications of it will be a focus, as will implementing any resulting changes to policies and procedures.
5.2 Further training facilitated for Church leaders and staff on trauma informed ways of working. NOPS to continue to facilitate this training, involving subject matter experts. This should include:
- briefing those involved in the formation of clergy, religious, and church workers on the ramifications of the Commission’s redress report, the data gathering that has been undertaken, and Catholic investigation of the Commission.
5.3 Te Rōpū Tautoko to lead the development of agreed criteria for removal of honorifics and a formal definition of credibly accused.
6. Development of research and educational material
6.1 Te Rōpū Tautoko to lead research, resulting in a paper, summarising the relationship between the leadership of religious institutes (and other forms of church structure including schools) and bishops.
6.2 Te Rōpū Tautoko to continue its research work into disabled peoples experience of care in the Catholic Church.
6.3 Te Rōpū Tautoko to re-set the development of research into Māori experiences of care in the Catholic Church.
6.4 Te Rōpū Tautoko to initiate engagement on research into Pacific peoples experiences of care in the Catholic Church.
6.5 Te Rōpū Tautoko to facilitate the development of concrete proposals to address clericalism in the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Translation of NOPS materials. See https://safeguarding.catholic.org.nz/documents-policies/
- Survivors only have to share their experiences of abuse once unless survivors want or need to share more information to aid their complaint. 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 MinEd 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) and the Vademecum (2020)
- 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.