We owe it to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders – children and adults – to learn from and never repeat the trauma and pain they have endured while under the “care” of their own Government says the Human Rights Commission.
“We can measure the mana of our country by the way we treat our most vulnerable people,” said Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford.
“We have failed to protect our most vulnerable in the past. If we do not listen to their voices and learn from their stories then we will fail them again. Nothing is more certain.”
On Monday the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service released their report “Some Memories Never Fade” based on seven years of talking with more than 1000 people placed in foster homes, boys and girls homes and psychiatric institutions before 1992. The report revealed a “neglectful system which allowed cruelty, sexual abuse, bullying and violence”.
Today the Children’s Commissioner released the valuable State of Care monitoring report into Child Youth and Family in 2014-2015. It found that Child, Youth and Family is not child-centred and officials do not know if children are better off as a result of their invention.
“This abuse has occurred over many years under the watch of Governments of all political colours: None of us can be proud of the past but all of us are responsible to make sure it’s never repeated,” said Mr Rutherford.
“There are 5000 children and young people in care at any given time and more than 2500 are mokopuna Maori. This is a crisis within a crisis. We must work to make certain all our children are better off as a result of state intervention.”
“We welcome the release of these reports and urge government and communities to work together to safeguard the future and protect the fundamental human rights of our most vulnerable New Zealanders,” said Mr Rutherford.
“The Human Rights Commission thanks all adults and children who have shared painful life stories in the hope that others will not endure what they have. As one survivor put it, he did so on behalf of ‘the future children of New Zealand.