The Salvation Army is strongly committed to working with the Royal Commission
The Salvation Army is deeply sorry for the abuse inflicted on vulnerable children who were housed in Salvation Army children’s homes.
As these historical crimes have come to light—as people have courageously told their stories—we have had a policy of listening, saying sorry and making appropriate redress for their suffering. We have endeavoured to pursue a survivor-focused approach in our responses to people.
The Salvation Army has a zero-tolerance policy for any offending of this sort. We are committed to doing our utmost to ensure the protection of all those in our care, including children, young people and vulnerable people.
We are working with the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care to better understand the adequacy of our redress procedures in helping survivors.
Anyone who has experienced abuse through their connection with The Salvation Army can complain to The Salvation Army or, if a criminal matter, direct to the Police. People can also contact the Royal Commission on 0800 222 727 and speak confidentially.
The following statement was presented on behalf of Colonel Gerry Walker, Chief Secretary, at the Royal Commission Redress in Faith-Based Care Hearing on 10 December 2020
The Salvation Army is deeply sorry for the abuse inflicted on vulnerable children who were housed in Salvation Army children's homes.
We recognise the courage it takes for those testifying to revisit trauma that should never have happened to them. What these survivors experienced was unwarranted and horrific. This has caused lasting damage to them and their wider circle of relationships.
There is no excuse for what happened. The lives that these children deserved were stolen from them. It is offensive that this was allowed to happen within an organisation that exists to serve a God of love.
We recognise that words alone cannot heal what has been broken. We therefore want to assure survivors that The Salvation Army is fully committed to listening to them and learning from this Royal Commission and any recommendations it might make. This applies not only in relation to our redress processes, which is the focus of this stage of hearings, but also any other recommendations made so that we can best help those harmed while in our care in the past, and to ensure safety for all vulnerable people accessing our services today.
The Salvation Army in New Zealand has an established process encouraging people to seek redress and move towards resolution for abuse that occurred while in the care of, or otherwise engaged with, The Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army seeks to acknowledge the harm and distress experienced by people who have suffered abuse while in its care. We seek to actively engage with survivors and hear their experience in a process of redress. Redress means to remedy, set right and/or compensate.
In responding to claims of abuse and in making offers of redress, The Salvation Army will:
Redress is available for survivors who have:
The Salvation Army may offer the following in terms of redress:
Face-to-face meeting with a senior Salvation Army Officer
If helpful to a survivor and opportunity will be given to the survivor to meet with a senior Salvation Army officer, who will ensure that the process and interactions with the survivor are respectful and empathetic. They will listen to the survivor’s story, assure them they have been believed, apologise and acknowledge responsibility. The Salvation Army will acknowledge the seriousness of the impacts of abuse. This ensures that the needs of the survivor are taken into account before the meeting is held. This may include identification of the most appropriate venue and location of the meeting, and an invitation for a support people of the survivor to be present.
Survivors may seek a verbal and/or written apology. The senior Salvation Army officer will provide a verbal, meaningful and genuine apology at a meeting with the survivor. A written apology may be provided in a form that is meaningful to the survivor.
The Salvation Army may offer counselling or psychological care to the survivor, acknowledging the harm resulting from the abuse suffered while in the care of The Salvation Army. The costs of counselling and psychological care offered by the Army will be provided in accordance with the following principles:
Survivors will be offered flexibility and choice in relation to counselling and psychological care. Survivors will be encouraged to seek support from registered practitioners with appropriate expertise in recovery work with people who have experienced abuse.
Counselling and psychological care from a professional registered counsellor or therapist will be available for the survivor for up to 12 sessions. Further sessions may be negotiated with the counsellor/therapist and The Salvation Army.
An offer of compensation may be offered and will take into consideration the impact and harm caused by the abuse:
Nature of the abuse
Impact and harm caused by the abuse
Any additional factors.
The offer would be made in full and final settlement of all claims against The Salvation Army.
Please be assured that all survivors who engage with The Salvation Army can be assured of a private and confidential process that maintains your dignity and respect.
The following information has been provided by the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care
Why do we want to hear from you?
The Royal Commission under its Terms of Reference is considering the adequacy of redress and what needs to be done to support people who have been abused or neglected in Faith-based (or State) institutions. Hearing from people who experienced abuse and neglect in institutions will help us to build a picture of what happened to those who made allegations or complaints or took civil proceedings relating to having been abused in Faith-based care.
Who do we want to hear from?
We want to hear from survivors and others who have been involved in making claims of abuse while in Faith-based care. This could be complaints directly to a Church or a Faith-based Institution, or by filing civil proceedings in Court or the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
We also want to hear from victims about their experience in seeking and receiving redress or justice. This could be monetary or non-monetary processes. We welcome hearing from other people who might have information to share about a claim of abuse in Faith-based care including family or whānau of the claimant, a legal representative or advocate.
Will support be available?
Yes. If you register with the Royal Commission, wellbeing and legal support can be provided, if you need it. Further information is provided at: https://www.abuseincare.org.nz/survivors/register/ and through our Contact Centre.
Can I be heard if I experienced abuse in a State-based institution?
Survivor witnesses have already been briefed for the State redress public hearings. We still welcome hearing from you if you would like to share information about seeking redress for abuse or neglect in State care and invite you to register for a private session or provide a written account. Further information https://www.abuseincare.org.nz/survivors/how-to-get-involved/
If you need further information about the Royal Commission, please contact 0800 222 727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Royal Commission of Inquiry
PO Box 10071
The Terrace, Wellington 6143.