Abuse in care: Government preparing apology, new redress system for survivors

Officials will start working on a national apology to survivors of abuse in care later this year.

The government signalled last year it would apologise and create a new, independent redress system.

"Designing the new system will take time - it is a complex task, requiring input from many different survivor groups to get it right," Public Service Minister Chris Hipkins said.

Work was underway on delivering more immediate support for survivors while the new system and the national apology were developed, he said.

The support will includes rapid payments for elderly or ill claimants, a new listening service, and easier provision of historical records of time spent in care.

The listening service will give survivors a safe place to tell their stories after the inquiry finishes in June 2023.

Hipkins expected to receive advice on faster payment options within the next two months.

Those steps plus the apology were recommended by the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry.

"In addition, I've asked for work on how we can improve survivors' access to their own records, following concerns raised with the inquiry about the timeliness and quality of records provision.

"The government agrees we shouldn't wait for the new system to improve the way we help survivors. At the same time, we have committed to meaningful change, and I want to ensure that any interim steps are done right."

Hipkins said once the new system was developed there would be "significant engagement before any final decisions are made" to ensure survivors were consulted.

The government will also work with survivor groups, tikanga experts and representatives from other communities affected by abuse in care on what a national apology might look like and how it might be delivered.