Breaking News – MSD Contemporary Claims Process 1993-2007

Ministry of Social Development Contemporary Claims Process

Article and screenshot below first placed online 10/9/2015

The Ministry of Social Development and Government has kept it very quiet (totally off the radar), but historic claims can now be lodged for abuse that occurred  in State run institutions (foster care, State run camps, boys homes, girls homes etc) after 1993. These claims run parallel to the historic claims process and are named the MSD Contemporary Claims.

If you were abused while in State care between 1993-2007 you are eligible to file a complaint and lodge a claim with the Ministry of Social Development or another Department relevant to your complaint (e.g. Ministry of Education pertaining to abuse at Waimokoia Residential School).

For those of you who might wish to lodge a claim/complaint, I’d strongly recommend contacting Cooper Legal in Wellington. Legal aid is available to people who earn under $23,000 a year and Cooper Legal do not charge upfront fees for legal aid applications.

Contact Sonja Cooper at Cooper Legal, 63-73 The Terrace, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand +64 4-499 9025. Their website, explaining the work they have done in the historic abuse claims here….

Note: It is the State’s obligation to pay your legal costs when your claim is settled (legal aid or private). This sum is not deducted from your settlement but becomes an additional cost for the State to cover.Statistically speaking, those who do have legal representation have a better outcome in the claims when compared to those who represent themselves.  Thus, you have everything to gain from legal representation and nothing to lose.  On the other hand, the State bares a heavier financial burden – both through the sum value of compensation/settlement payments being typically higher to those with legal representation, and having to cover legal costs – and presumably this is why they are repeatedly advising claimants that legal representation is unnecessary (go figure!).

Know/understand also that those handling/investigating your claim (representatives of the MSD, MOE etc) are not your friend/s nor allies.  They are paid representatives of a State charged with looking after the interests of that State – a State that has consistently demonstrated a cynical, callous contempt for human rights (your rights) where resolving historical abuse claims against that same State is concerned. Recently, the United Nations Committee Against Torture called New Zealand to task over their handling of the historic claims re redress (failing to provide adequate compensation and the means for as  full a rehabilitation as possible). Therefore, understand that no matter how nice the State representative seems when he/she says there is no need for legal representation and the process is not a legal process this is highly misleading information – a scripted dialogue that serves to disempower the victim (you) while empowering the State (the defendant/perpetrator). Think of any NZ government representatives as being like the Dickens character, the Artful Dodger – who was skillful at distracting the attention of his victims with friendly conversation as he picked their pockets – and you’ll be in good stead.

If you are currently involved in, or are intending to lodge, a claim I’d like to hear from you (all part of joining the dots for future lobby work – knowledge is power!). Contact me at my email of nzchildabuse [at] gmail [dot] com, or use the site email form.

Footnote: Months after writing to the MSD for confirmation about the contemporary claims process, an official from the MSD finally responded with confirmation that yes there is a contemporary claims process which has been in action for some time (since 2013). Additionally, they noted that they would add information about the contemporary claims on the MSD website. Seemingly they have had an avenue for redress for abuse that occurred in State care post 1993 for some time (since 2013!!) – it’s just that they didn’t bother informing victims of this (their rights). Download MSD response here….. 

Footnote 2, over 6 months on from the above footnote:

Having contacted the MSD in late June 2016 on two occasions and requested a link to any material on their site surrounding information about the ‘Contemporary Claims’ based on their statement in November 2015 of “you might be interested to know that the Ministry is currently working on updating the information on its website www.msd.govt.nz , I received correspondence on the 20 July 2016 stating that no material had been added to the MSD site surrounding the MSD Contemporary Claims. Download MSD correspondence here (PDF)

10 comments on “Breaking News – MSD Contemporary Claims Process 1993-2007

  1. Teremoana bush on said:

    Hi I had sent a letter to Cooper Legal an they sent me forms to fill out for claim, so what should I do…???

  2. Just want to ask,since Waimokoia was a MSD and Social Development combined place..do we sue both departments??

    • admin_grant on said:

      Waimokoia falls under the Ministry of Education (MOE) which has a claims team. Unfortunately in the infinite wisdom of the National Government the claims processes are highly erratic across the Departments and you’ll get lower redress from the MOE than the MSD. If you were under the care of the MSD at the time you were placed in Waimokoia you should start by speaking to them first although they may refer you to the Ministry of Education who frankly are utter pricks to deal with. Most importantly engage a lawyer so speak to Sonja Cooper before speaking to any Gov department about the way you were treated in care —- contact details are…. Cooper Legal, 63-73 The Terrace, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand +64 4-499 9025. I would stress do not listen to the bastards (Gov representatives) when they tell you there is no need for legal assistance. The whole system is geared to screw you. Get a lawyer!!!

  3. K Bell on said:

    Do you know why they only send certain parts of your file out ? And there are pieces crossed out on some of the pages?
    It isn’t people’s names that are crossed out – one example is : ( The name of the contraceptive given to me ) when I was sent to a G.P (that was the one we were told we had to go to ) every 3 months for the Contraceptive Depo Provera Injection – I was 13 yrs old at the time and NOT sexually active and was told the injection was for my Asthma ! I kept telling the Dr that it wasn’t working cause I was still wheezing and it had stopped my period .
    There was also whole blank pages and others completely blocked out ?
    Can MSD choose which info they release ? And if so – why ?

    • admin_grant on said:

      Yes this has been a big issue with massive amounts of the records being blacked out in many cases. Recently Cooper Legal sued over this and the long delays in getting records in a lot of cases. Based on this case, the Ministry concerned is now forced to provide unredacted records to Cooper Legal but the claimant still receives redacted copies. Its utter bullshit I know but consider yourself lucky…. I was denied every piece of OIA I applied for after being denied legal aid and left with no legal representation as a result. If you have Copper Legal acting on your behalf you could speak to them about this.

  4. My partner was offered a small sum while in jail and accepted fast track process at the time as he had no idea what he entitled to and told if he declined it can take up to 5 years and he could get less. Upon release his other siblings have been given 2-3 times more than him and were in much same situation. He has been informed that he cannot contest or review as he took offer. Hard luck huh. However that was for state abuse, he was also in care of church run home and abused does this fall under msd also or can church be held accountable too?

    • admin_grant on said:

      You’d need to run this past Cooper Legal @ Cooper Legal, 63-73 The Terrace, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand +64 4-499 9025.

  5. What if you were abused before 1993 while in state care?

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