5 Dec 2016

Inquiry 'absolute way' to bring abusers to account

5:37 am on 5 December 2016

A woman who has told of being beaten and raped by her policeman foster father while in state care says an independent inquiry is the only way to bring the perpetrators to account.

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Photo: 123RF

Chrissie Chamberlain, 62, was nine when she went to live with a second foster family in the 1960s.

Over the next six years she was beaten, punched, kicked, slapped and raped by her foster father.

Some years later she wrote to police telling them about the abuse at the hand of the man, who was still in the force, but she never got a response.

More recently, she spoke to the confidential listening service, set up to hear victims' stories.

"I told them my story and they, at the end of it, turned around and told me there was not enough evidence to say that we had been raped and pushed a pre-prepared letter and offer of $28,000 under my nose."

She rejected the money.

"This has nearly broken me, the whole sorry bloody scenario, and what we don't need is faceless bureaucrats telling us what may or may not have happened to us. I'm sorry there was no one looking through the window, what evidence do they want?"

An independent inquiry was needed to bring the perpetrators to account, she said.

"An independent inquiry is the absolute way to go and Judge Henwood would be the perfect person to get this up and running.

"But to move forward we need the involvement of the survivors, you can't move forward without involving them."

Judge Carolyn Henwood was the chair of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) panel that heard from more than 1100 people who were abused in state care.

She made seven recommendations, including that an independent body be set up to discover the extent of the abuse, to monitor the ministry's care of children and to investigate complaints.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley told RNZ that was unnecessary and would bring more pain to victims.

Where to get help:

Help: Support service for sexual abuse survivors 09 623 1700 (24/7)

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7)

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