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Time has come for state apology on abuse

Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions.

Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says many victims feel the state has never fully acknowledged what has happened to them.

“That needs to change. You cannot hear, or even read, the stories of those who experienced abuse while they were meant to be protected and cared for by the state, without being moved.

“The Confidential Listening and Advice Service was established in 2008 to listen and provide assistance to anyone who alleged abuse or neglect whilst in state care before 1992, including psychiatric hospitals and wards, health camps, child welfare care and special education homes.

“The work of the Service must be resumed, given many victims missed the opportunity to share their stories.

“There is also a mechanism to seek compensation for abuse, through the historic claims unit. But compensation and individual apologies from the Ministry of Social Development chief executive are not enough.

“Labour is today calling on the Prime Minister to read every report written by the Service, make them publically available, and use the learnings to make sure this kind of abuse never happens again in our state institutions.

“John Key needs to issue an apology on behalf of the state, something that Labour is committed to doing in office if the current Government does not,” Jacinda Ardern says.