Churches could launch own investigation into historical abuse

The head of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse in state care has suggested churches could launch their own internal investigation.

Sir Anand Satyanand told Newshub Nation he has met with Anglican and Catholic leaders, who "expressed a willingness to be engaged".

"I raised with them the prospect that the churches could use their combined resources to mount a commission of their own, so they could deal with issues in a tailor-made fashion."

He said including churches in the Royal Commission into state abuse would be very difficult to manage logistically.

But he says there are obvious crossovers, and the two investigations could assist each other while maintaining confidentiality around specific cases.

Sir Anand stressed that while he is making recommendations about the terms of reference, he will not have the final say.

"Whatever I recommend, at the other end, it will be a political decision made by the Cabinet, based on the information available to it."

The Royal Commission is currently asking for public submissions on its terms of reference, which determine the focus of inquiry.

Other subjects that have been highlighted during the public consultation process, according to Sir Anand, are a lack of references to the Treaty, and issues of compensation.

The Royal Commission itself will not provide specific compensation to individuals but rather make suggestions to the Government, which will then determine what compensation is appropriate.

The inquiry is likely to be focused on cases of state abuse between the 1950 and 2000, but if there is evidence of abuse after that time, it will be examined.

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