December 16, 2020
Numbers show abuse in care a problem for Maori
A member of the Royal Commission Abuse in Care says the release of an interim report should give people a sense of the scale of people who have been in care and the extent of abuse that has gone on.
The report, Tāwharautia: Pūrongo o te Wā, estimates between 1950 and 2019 up to 655,000 have spent time in state and faith-based care and up to 250,000 children, young people and vulnerable adults were abused.
Dr Anaru Erueti says it puts some numbers around what testimonies given in private sessions and public hearings indicates is the basis for pervasive and inter-generational harm.
He says a dominant theme is the impact on Māori, who make up four in five of those abused, as numbers of Māori in borstals, residential homes and psychiatric institutions ramped up through the 1960s and 70s.
"You see Māori as a majority in many of these institutions. There was a study from 1983 on six residential homes across Auckland and Māori make up 60 to 70 percent of children in care. While the numbers in care have dropped overall, for Māori they have remained high and in more recent decades have started to grow," Dr Erueti says.
The Royal Commission is looking at a wide variety abuse, in comparison to the Australian inquiry which only looked at sexual abuse in care.
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