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Government claims neglect in state care not widespread

Wednesday 30 Nov 2016 8:14 p.m.

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People who were abused and neglected while in state care don't want an independent inquiry and most are happy with just an apology, according to Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.

She has defended her ministry's decision not to establish an independent investigation into failings by Government social welfare agencies, which took 100,000 children into state care between the 1950s and 1980s.

Ms Tolley also says no universal apology is required, and individual apologies for claimants are more appropriate.

"Many claimants tell me that having the state acknowledge that wrong was done and take responsibility for that is really important," she said.

A woman who was abused while in state care says she's furious that the Government denies it was a widespread problem.

Victim Jasmine Bell told Radio New Zealand this afternoon that "pretty much eveything that came out of her mouth had me shaking" .

"I just felt like she was belittling," she said.

A report presented to Cabinet found 3.5 percent of those in state care were abused.

However Judge Carolyn Henwood, who led a Government-funded service that heard the stories of neglect, said the actual rate of abuse is much higher as many victims died without making claims.

"What they haven't done is investigate the department itself as to how these things occured, and what was the thinking and what were the resources and how did it happen," she told Newshub.

Ms Tolley says the Government has now paid out $17 million and made apologies to 900 victims.


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