State Care: history of brutal child abuse #NewZealand

The recommendations of the panel have been withheld.

State care-givers used fists, feet, and weapons to attack children in a period between the early 1940s and 1990s, says the final report of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service.

### Last updated 07:32, August 25 2015
Generation of children brutalised in state care won’t get public apology
By Stacey Kirk
The Government will not offer a formal public apology to all children who were in state care during a 50 year period of brutal abuse. The final report of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service has detailed the harrowing experiences of children at the hands of people who were meant to keep them safe. The report, which heard evidence from more than 1100 people, is still under consideration by the Government. The abuse detailed in the report covers foster homes, institutions, asylums, health camps and borstals from the early 1940s up to 1992. […] Judge Carolyn Henwood, who headed the panel that has been hearing grievances since 2008, said: “Foster caregivers and extended families, social workers and staff, teachers, the clergy, cooks, gardeners, night watchmen, even other children and patients, all took part in abuse. […] When we asked people why they had come, they said they wanted to be heard, they wanted an apology and accountability, and they wanted to improve state care for children, for the next generation.” Even now, New Zealand had no official “duty of care” towards children written into its law, Henwood said.
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Final Report of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service 2015 (report cover) 1

██ Final Report of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service 2015
(PDF, 5.39 MB) Published by Stacey Kirk
The final report of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service which was established in 2008 as an independent agency to provide assistance for people who had suffered abuse and neglect in state care before 1992.

ODT: Level of child abuse ‘horrifying’
● A panel tasked with examining historical abuse in New Zealand’s state institutions has heard a litany of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, describing it as “horrifying” and “deeply shocking”.
● In its final report, released to Fairfax under the Official Information Act, chairwoman Judge Carolyn Henwood said the panel members were “profoundly affected” by what they heard.
● More than 1100 people came forward to speak to the panel between 2008 and June this year, covering child welfare care, psychiatric care and health camps, and residential education.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Democracy, Geography, Heritage, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Police, Politics

8 responses to “State Care: history of brutal child abuse #NewZealand

  1. Gurglars

    The government can not afford the cost of the apology. Imagine restitution costs for the thousands so affected. The government would rather procrastinate as in David Bain rather than open the floodgates.

  2. Elizabeth


    State of Care 2015 - Office of the Childrens Commissioner (front cover) 27.8.15[screenshot – cover image]

    █ Download: State of Care 2015
    Released by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (PDF, 2678 KB)

    ### Thursday, 27 August 2015, 11:57 am
    State of Care Report 2015 -SSPA

    Press Release: Social Service Providers Aotearoa
    27 August 2015

    State of Care Report 2015 -SSPA

    SSPA is encouraged by the State of Care 2015 report released today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner which has brought the voice of children and their expectations from state care into the public domain. It affirms the New Zealand public’s expectations, made widely known through the ten thousand submissions to the 2012 Green Paper, for high standards in statutory care and a culture of respect and valuing of our tamariki.

    “Many of the members of Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) are involved with the care of children. Their practice is concerned with and impacted by the practice of Child Youth and Family. We welcome a report that has highlighted the strong front-end systems of CYF that protect children from immediate harm,” says SSPA National Manager Tara D’Sousa. “And while we note the report’s finding of inconsistent vision and direction to ensure that the 5,000 children in care have improved life outcomes, SSPA providers are all too aware of pressures that impede practice. CYF staff are extraordinarily challenged by the dual expectations of managing both political risk and the risk of abuse to children.”

    The State of Care 2015 Report also gives voice to the aspirations of Māori who are disproportionately represented in the numbers of children in care, and recommends improvement in cultural and wider capability. SSPA is heartened by the recommendation for better interagency, NGO, iwi providers and community engagement.

    It is in New Zealand’s long-term interests that all child-services, state and non-state, do more and work together to place children at the heart of all we do. “This is complex work and needs adequate resourcing for all the agencies involved, and this is not the case,” says Ms D’Sousa. “Child-centred practice must be well funded in order to have a developmental approach and wrap whānau and community around our most vulnerable children for them to thrive and belong”.

    Scoop Link

    ODT Editorial: Putting love in the care equation
    “State of Care 2015” is the first annual report from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner about its independent monitoring of Child, Youth and Family, the statutory service charged with the care and protection of children. […] There must be more urgency in adopting the recommendations of successive reports and expert panels, for children remain the losers as long as meaningful action is delayed. And love needs to be put at the centre of the care equation.

  3. Kim Hill interviewing researcher and author, Elizabeth Stanley, on institutional child abuse in NZ. I bought her book – harrowing reading.
    The truth will come out eventually …

  4. Elizabeth

    Some of us are working to widen the inquiry, not narrow it to State Care Abuse only – see the (wide) brief for the Australian Royal Commission.

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    Thiago Matarazzo Published on Jan 13, 2015
    Sia – Big Girls Cry (Official Video)
    From the album “1000 Forms of Fear”.

    DanceMomsManiac Published on Jul 3, 2015
    Maddie Ziegler’s FULL DANCE on Pretty Little Liars (Extended Version)
    Never before seen full “creepy dancer” dance Maddie performed on Pretty Little Liars!

    • Your creepy video reminds me of Janet Frames’ words:
      “Listening to her, one experienced a deep uneasiness as of having avoided an urgent responsibility, like someone who, walking at night along the banks of a stream, catches a glimpse in the water of a white face or a moving limb and turns quickly away, refusing to help or to search for help. We all see the faces in the water. We smother our memory of them, even our belief in their reality, and become calm people of the world; or we can neither forget or help them. Sometimes by a trick of circumstances or dream or a hostile neighborhood of light we see our own face.”
      ― Janet Frame, Faces in the Water

      These children weren’t merely given less than optimum care – collectively, they were scapegoated i.e. society’s fears about evil were projected on to them and as a result they were systematically punished and treated with contempt.

      • Elizabeth

        Yes I thought of Janet Frame’s writings too, which underpinned my four-year fulltime MArch thesis, along with other writers and other things.

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Taking children away from parents and putting them in the “care” of other people hasn’t been a great scheme. Other households, other people with less tie to the child … potentially as bad as parent with a changing roll of “partners” isn’t it, from the p.o.v. of risk?
    The old orphanages got a bad reputation, earned it. But potentially they are more readily inspected, easier to arrange/permit frequent visits by family and unrelated people who like children and want to help by reading stories, helping with homework, teaching a kid to knit…….. More eyes and ears, more people the kids can confide in, more people who may notice if a child is quieter, more nervous, changed in a way that suggests something isn’t right.
    And more kids to befriend, more chances of making a special buddy. Overall more stability than being swooped upon and taken from parents, then from care family that can’t cope and plonked into another household. This happens to victims of govt social agencies.
    At least in an orphanage not all the staff leave & are replaced at once.
    And they shouldn’t be located in a “nice country setting” i.e. a long way for non-staff to come and visit (and observe).

    When they scream someone needs to hear – and take action.

  6. Elizabeth

    It takes a village to raise a child. [and maybe a train]

    Vevo-DUCK Published on Nov 20, 2016
    Never Give Up – Sia (lyrics)
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