New Zealand Labour Party

Historic abuse victims deserve real justice

Victims who have been abused while in state care and have waited years for resolution will not find it in today’s announcement from Anne Tolley, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. 

“The Government’s ‘fast tracked’ process for historic abuse claims comes with some enormous caveats. 

“Anyone who signs up to it will have their claim assessed based on historic records indicating whether they were abused. Unfortunately many would never have been recorded, while in some cases, records no longer exist.

“Secondly, the Minister says fast tracked settlements will be based on claims made to date. She knows full well that many of those will have been from unrepresented and unsupported victims. Every case should be considered individually.

“And finally, victims won’t be able to raise social work practice failures, so someone who was continually abused by a foster carer, for instance, with the full knowledge of social welfare, won’t be able to successfully make a claim.

“Those who are unrepresented, may not even know the trade-offs they are being asked to make.  

“Of course we need resolution for those who have been victims of abuse at the hand of the state. Some of the stories I have heard are horrific, and have had a lifelong impact. That is even more reason for the process to be full and fair.

“For that to happen, the historic claims unit needs to be better resourced, and the Crown needs to behave like a model litigant.

“Victims deserve real justice, not an ultimatum,” Jacinda Ardern says.