Statement on the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care – New Zealand

Whakarongo rā, whakarongo rā ki ā mātou waha kōrero o ngā iwi.
E kōrero ana rātou i te pāmamae nei o ngā iwi.
I whakapāha a te kura mō ngā raruraru, me ērā atu mea whakamamae, whakamate tāngata.
Mō taku hē, mō taku hē!

Listen too, feel our vibrations and voices.
They have spoken of their trauma.
The College expresses its regret for the pain, suffering and loss.
We are deeply sorry.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) acknowledges the importance of the Royal Commission’s Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care. The Royal Commission was established in 2018 to inquire into and report upon responses by institutions to instances and allegations of historical abuse in state care and faith-based institutions between 1950 and 2000. The RANZCP supports and has contributed to the investigations undertaken by the Royal Commission.

The objective of this Royal Commission is an important step in understanding and recognising the trauma experienced by the survivors of abuse, their whānau, and any others suffering from this harm experienced in state care.

During the Royal Commission, survivors have provided testimonies detailing their experiences in care, including of receiving psychiatric ‘treatments’ that were ineffective, harmful, unethical and traumatising. 

The RANZCP apologises to the survivors and their whānau, for the harm experienced in state care and for our failure as a group of doctors to have acted to prevent this. We express our sincere regret to all those who have suffered. We acknowledge and apologise for the pain that placements in State care, including those at Lake Alice, caused people. We condemn any unacceptable behaviour by individual psychiatrists. 

Tē tōia, tē haumatia - Nothing can be achieved without a plan, people, and a way of doing things better.

The RANZCP commits to teaching the facts about past harmful practices and evidence of their ongoing impact in the core psychiatry training curriculum. Psychiatrists have an important role to play in acknowledging historical harmful practices and committing to learn from them, so the mistakes of the past are not repeated.


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