Questions and answers

Find out more about the Survivor Experiences Service with these often asked questions and answers.

Why is there a Survivor Experiences Service?

A number of survivors of abuse in care have expressed their need for a safe, supportive, and confidential service to share their experiences, between the closure of the survivor registrations and private sessions services delivered by the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry and the time when a new, independent redress system is established.

Designing a survivor-led, independent redress system will take time – it is a complex task, requiring input from many different survivor groups to get it right.

While that work happens, the Royal Commission recommended interim measures, including rapid payments, improved survivor access to records, an interim listening service and work on a public apology for survivors. The Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry is coordinating these measures on behalf of the Government.

There is further information in the proactively released Cabinet Papers on the Crown Repose Unit website.

Who can use the Survivor Experiences Service?

The Survivor Experiences Service is available for people who were abused in state, faith-based, or other forms of care.

The Service is focused on people who experienced historical abuse and neglect (prior to 1999). It is also accessible to people with more recent (post-1999) experiences.

The Service is primarily available to direct survivors and is also open to hearing the experiences of whānau, to recognise the wider impacts of trauma.

What is the timeframe of the Survivor Experiences Service?

The Service will run from July 2023 through to the introduction of a new, independent redress system, which is being led by the Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry.

The Service was established in July 2023, to provide support to survivors of abuse in care following the closure of the survivor registrations and private sessions services delivered by the Royal Commission.

The Survivor Experiences Service is one of the immediate projects underway announced by the Government in August 2022 in response to recommendations by the Royal Commission and to improve support for survivors of abuse in care while a new independent redress system is being designed by the Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry.

How can I share my experiences of abuse in care?

How you share your experiences is up to you. You can choose to share your experiences in a number of ways, including kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face), virtually, or in writing.

When you contact us, we will work with you to understand how you would like to share your experiences.

How does a sharing session work? How will a typical session go?

We will work with you to plan a session that puts your oranga (wellbeing) first and supports you in sharing your experiences.

Each session will have someone who understands abuse in care and its impacts for survivors and whānau, with who you can share your experiences and will support you.

The session will be unique to you.

Will I get wellbeing support?

Your oranga (wellbeing) is the most important thing.

You can request support at any stage during your engagement with us. The earlier you can talk with us about your needs, the more time we will have to ensure the most suitable support is put in place for you.

While the Survivor Experiences Service cannot provide long-term support, we can refer you to other providers, such as ACC or community providers. 

Can I bring someone to the session with me?

Yes. You can bring your whānau and other support people with you to your session. We will talk about this as we plan your session with you.

What will happen with the information I share with the Survivor Experiences Service?

Your privacy is our priority. We know creating a safe environment for you to share your experiences requires confidence in how your information will be kept and used.

We collect information from you when you:

  • register your expression of interest
  • talk to us over the phone
  • meet with us
  • provide us with physical or digital documents

The information you provide us with will be used to arrange sharing sessions, provide referrals to other providers where appropriate and with your permission, and generally manage your interactions with the Survivor Experiences Service.

Survivor experiences shared with us can also be brought together in a way no individual survivor is identifiable, to form reports designed to deepen understanding of abuse in care and how to prevent it. 

Sharing your information

Survivor experiences shared with us may be brought together in a way no individual survivor is identifiable, to form reports designed to deepen understanding of abuse in care. In any reports or publications, we will make sure your information is anonymised so that you cannot be identified from it.

With your explicit consent, we may share your personal information with support organisations or the Police if you require wellbeing support or assistance.

Securing your information

We have systems and safeguards in place to control how we collect, manage and use your information. This helps us use your information appropriately and keep it safe. Our systems are secure and only people that need to use your personal information will have access to it. This includes digital, electronic and physical (hard copy) information. 

All information generated and collected by the Survivor Experiences Service is handled in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 and the Public Records Act 2005.

Accessing and correcting your personal information

If you have any concerns about how your information is being handled, or wish to access or amend any of the personal information you provided to the Survivor Experiences Service, please contact us.

What is the purpose of the Survivor Experiences Service?

The purpose of the Service is to:

  • provide a forum in which survivors can share their experiences of abuse in care in a trauma-informed and culturally responsive setting in order to facilitate healing.
  • continue to increase State agencies, faith-based and other institutions and the general public’s understanding of the nature and impacts of abuse in care.

What will the Survivor Experiences not do?

The Survivor Experiences Service will first and foremost provide a space for survivors of abuse in state or non-state institutions to share their experiences to support healing.

As noted in the May 2023 Cabinet Paper, the Service is not responsible for:

  • undertaking any investigations or seeking to establish the truth of survivors’ experiences.
  • making recommendations relating to monetary redress.
  • responding to complaints about care experiences.
  • any monitoring or oversight of current care settings.