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Child abuse apology needed

The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda Arden.

“Last year the final report from the Confidential Listening and Advice was released after 7 years of listening and providing advice to anyone who alleged abuse or neglect while in state care.

“With so many victims coming forward to tell their story to prevent harm to others in the future, having the Government follow through on these recommendations was key.

“The Government is choosing not act on the need for an independent body to investigate historical abuse claims in state care or issue a public apology, despite recommendations from Judge Henwood to do so.

“Labour has already committed to issuing a public apology to all those who suffered under state care when we are in Government. We urge National to do the same, and to publically acknowledge the mistreatment of so many young children in state care.

“The Government is failing to implement the need for independence when resolving historic abuses.

“The Minister claims there is no need for change due to the current high resolution rate, and a separate entity within the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamaraki will investigate future claims. This is simply wrong. Many claimants are settling because the Government has issued them an ultimatum.

“Understandably, concerns have also been raised about the difficulty for victims to come forward to the Ministry of Social Development, given that it was under state care they suffered abuse.

“Labour reiterates a call for a totally independent body to ensure due process for victims and public accountability.

“All Judge Henwood’s recommendations should be implemented because the wellbeing of all children in state care is paramount,” says Jacinda Ardern.