Sunday, June 23, 2024

Abuse in care redress system co-chairs appointed

The Government has today appointed the co-chairs responsible for the design of a survivor-led independent redress system for historic abuse in care.

Minister for the Public Service, Andrew Little said the work on redress for survivors of abuse in care remained a high priority for the Government.

“Today’s appointments reflect our commitment to maintain momentum towards achieving justice for survivors,” Mr Little said.

“I’ve appointed Dr Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kahungunu), who has a background in public health and is a survivor herself; and Ruth Jones QSM (Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata) who has worked extensively with disabled and diverse communities, as co-chairs. Both are known leaders in their fields.

Dr Ahuriri-Driscoll is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Canterbury, with a focus on and background in Māori public health. She has a significant publication record and is highly regarded in public health. 

Her leadership experience is based in the health and academic sectors, with board experience on advisory, health, and community trusts – including the Cancer Society, Health Research Council, Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology, and the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australasia.

Ruth Jones is co-director of a disability consultancy and an experienced facilitator and disabled leader. Ruth and her husband are proud to lead Hei Whakapiki Mauri, a Whānau Ora entity supporting tangata and whānau whaikaha. Ruth has lived experience of closed adoption. She also has a strong track record of working in diverse communities. Her community leadership and service to disabled people was recognised by a Queens Service Medal in 2014. 

Ms Jones has extensive government and community governance experience. She is currently a member of the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board and member of Te Tauraki the Iwi Partnership Board for the Ngai Tahu takiwai. Past appointments include the Enabling Good Lives Governance Group and National Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families. 

“These appointments are a significant step towards the development of a new independent, trauma-informed redress system to support genuine healing for people who have been abused or neglected in care,” said Minister Little.

The Royal Commission’s interim redress report outlined a need for a new independent redress system to support genuine healing for survivors.

“The government wants to ensure the new system reflects the voices of survivors who have shared their experiences with the Royal Commission,” Mr Little said.

“Given the experience of both co-chairs, I have no doubt they understand the importance of the work ahead.”

The Crown committed to delivering on those recommendations when the interim report was delivered, and that commitment remains firm, the Minister said.

A formal process is underway to appoint the remaining members of the design and advisory groups to develop high-level proposals of a new redress system.

The co-chairs have been appointed for seven months from April 2023.

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