It is well established that children were physically and sexually abused in state care in New Zealand over many decades. But what has always been carefully hidden is the subsequent role of the Crown in deliberately, actively suppressing and stifling the bids for justice by survivors of those crimes.
Aaron Smale reveals the lengths to which the Crown went – via its bureaucratic, legal and political arms – to avoid the blame and liability for crimes committed against minors in its care. The armoury of the state was deployed to stop the public from knowing the extent of this decades-long scandal, causing further trauma and harm to victims in the process.
Smale’s investigation results from years of interviews with survivors and family members, the scrutinising of internal government files, correspondence with survivors and their lawyers, court judgments and early evidence from the Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care, currently sitting in Auckland.
It is a substantial piece of journalism. It had to be, to capture the extent of the Crown’s campaign against accountability and remorse. The disturbing picture that emerges is of the government of New Zealand being responsible for a system that permitted ongoing crimes against children, and then controlling the complaints and accountability process to prevent the whole picture from ever being known.
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By Aaron Smale
Published October 15, 2020