New Zealand Bishops Publish Report on Abuse Cases

The country’s bishops commissioned the report at the request of New Zealand’s Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care investigating abuse against children, young people and vulnerable adults while in the care of the state- or faith-based institutions between 1950-1999. The final report to New Zealand’s governor-general is scheduled for 2023.

Newsroom (03/02/2022 10:30 AM, Gaudium Press) A report, published on Feb. 1, 2022, states that “a total of 1,680 reports of abuse were made by 1,122 individuals against Catholic clergy, brothers, nuns, sisters and laypeople from 1950 to the present, with 592 alleged abusers named.” The figure represents 14 percent of diocesan clergy who have ministered in the country since 1950.
“Almost half the reported abuses involved sexual harm,” the report continues. “The 1960s and 1970s were the decades with the most abuse reported, as 75 percent dated before 1990.”

Investigation’s findings: “horrifying”

In a statement issued following the release of the report, Cardinal John Dew, president of the New Zealand bishops’ conference, said the investigation’s findings were “horrifying and something we are deeply ashamed of. As we continue to respond to the Royal Commission into Abuse and we build a safer church for everyone, I firmly hope that facts like these will help us to face the sad reality,” Dew said. “The church will learn from this and affirm its commitment to the work of safeguarding.”
The country’s bishops commissioned the report at the request of New Zealand’s Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, an independent commission investigating abuse against children, young people and vulnerable adults while in the care of the state- or faith-based institutions between 1950-1999. The commission expects to present a final report to New Zealand’s governor-general in 2023.
The investigation into abuse cases in the Catholic Church was conducted by Te Ropu Tautoko, an independent group that coordinates engagement between the country’s bishops and the Royal Commission.

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Statistics

Te Ropu Tautoko examined records from six dioceses, 43 religious congregations, 428 Catholic parishes, 370 Catholic schools and 67 church-run care institutions in New Zealand.
In addition to the allegations against diocesan clergy, the report gathered 599 reports of abuse were made about 187 male members of religious congregations, 258 reports were made about 120 female religious congregation members, and 138 allegations of abuse were made against 103 laypeople.
Out of 1,680 reports of abuse, 1,350 involved children, while 164 implicated adults. The report did not establish the ages of 167 alleged victims. Nearly 50% of the total complaints of abuse involved “sexual harm against a child.”
The report reflected 687 cases related to “educational facilities, 425 to residential care, 228 to parishes and 122 to other locations. A further 219 took place at unidentified locations.”

Compiled by Saju Hasmukth

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