Minister will apologise to anyone abused in state care

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley is "more than happy" to apologise to anyone who has suffered as a result of ...

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley is "more than happy" to apologise to anyone who has suffered as a result of abuse while in state care.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says she will apologise to anyone who has been abused in state care.

Her statement comes after Labour renewed its call for the Government to make a formal apology to victims of historic abuse in state institutions.

Many victims felt the state has never fully acknowledged what happened to them, Labour's justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern said, following the launch of a book detailing the physical, sexual and psychological violence experienced.

Labour Party MP Jacinda Ardern says Labour is committed to offering an apology on behalf of the state.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Labour Party MP Jacinda Ardern says Labour is committed to offering an apology on behalf of the state.

'The Road to Hell: state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand' written by Victoria University criminology director Elizabeth Stanley covered the 1950's to the 80's where the government took more than 100,000 children into state care. Some subsequently faced "abysmal conditions, limited education and social isolation".

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Last year, Labour called for the apology after a report from the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service revealed the brutal circumstances for Kiwi kids in foster homes, institutions, asylums, health camps and borstals from the 1940s to 1992.

Tolley says victims can already receive some compensation and an apology from the Ministry for the trauma they suffered, subject to some fact-checking.

"Any kind of abuse against kids in state care is abhorrent," Tolley said.

The Government already recognised some claims were taking too long to be settled, and had fast-tracked the process, she said. 

420 claimants received offers of compensation and an apology and 80 per cent of those were accepted. The remaining claimants chose to continue with the full assessment process. Offers are expected to be made to a further 300 legally represented claimants by the end of September.

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Tolley also said the Government had already extended the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service and their final report would be considered by Cabinet soon.

"As I said last year, I'm more than happy to apologise to anyone who had to go through this traumatic experience for the impact it has had on their lives."

Ardern argued that compensation and individual apologies from the Ministry of Social Development chief executive was "not enough".

"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," Ardern said.

Labour also wanted the Prime Minister to read every report written by the Service.

 - Stuff

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