This is SO exciting, Owen Glen has the money time and dedication to do this, and away from the political constraints here.
(Don’t thank me – thank Owen Glenn!)…Email from historic abuse survivor after being told of the Glenn Independent Inquiry into child abuse.
The Glenn Independent Inquiry into Child Abuse – New Zealand Finds a Champion
While the John Key NZ National Government side-stepped a royal commission, instead releasing its ill-fated, widely slated ‘White Paper on Vulnerable Children’, ex-patriot billionaire philanthropist Owen Glenn pulled no punches and announced that he would fund an independent inquiry into child abuse, stating among other things, “this could have been an official royal commission of inquiry, but the Government declined.”
For Glenn, the genesis for funding the inquiry came more than 40 years ago, during a brief spell living in the largely impoverished South Auckland suburb of Otara.
“I saw first-hand some of the horrible things that go on, and it was what prompted me to leave the country,” he said (he has spent much of the intervening time overseas).
His pledge to help fight child abuse will no doubt have a significant impact on the next election.
The report will be delivered early in 2014, election year, and Glenn has commissioned a communications firm to sign up 500,000 people to a petition demanding all parties support the findings of his inquiry – or lose their votes.
“Once we have 500,000 voters people will sit up and take notice,” he said.
In another sign of serious intent, Glenn has recruited 13 international child abuse and domestic violence experts – from Australia, the US, Canada, Uganda, and including a veteran Scottish homicide officer as well as senior academics – to form a think-tank.
Glenn has also appointed veteran family violence campaigner and former head of the government’s domestic violence unit, Ruth Herbert, to lead the inquiry.
Because the inquiry is independent, those behind it have no power of subpoena; but similarly, their work isn’t subject to Official Information Act requests, allowing them to guarantee people’s anonymity. They hope this will entice frontline workers, as well as survivors, to contribute. (source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8085837/Billionaire-dreams-of-zero-child-abuse)
Scope of Inquiry
Unlike the Australian Royal Commission which deals with institutionalised historic child abuse, the Glenn Inquiry addresses the question, “If New Zealand was leading the world, what would it look like?” The inquiry aims to develop a long-term “blueprint” for the future, as opposed to presenting another report on the problem.
As inquiry head, Ruth Herbert relayed in correspondence: “The Glenn Inquiry will primarily focus on abuse within the family but will not exclude institutional abuse (the latter is a huge issue and needs a dedicated inquiry of its own to do it justice – I expect that in the course of this inquiry connections will be made between the Glenn Inquiry and the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry in child abuse within institutions).” And,“there are so many stories – so many system failures – that I worry if we really lift the lid on everything at once we won’t be able to manage – to process it all !”
Ruth Herbert doesn’t want a catalogue of woes, doesn’t plan to log every punch and kick, every depraved tale of child abuse. As she points out re historic abuse survivors: “The key thing you and others who were abused in childhood need to get across to the panel is that the support/the counselling/ access to the right medication needs to go on for years – the recovery/rebuild stage of child abuse and domestic violence goes on for many years and if the right services/system are not there throughout we get failures, and often the consequence is other social problems i.e. mental health, alcohol and drug dependency , crime etc etc…”
“This inquiry could not accommodate hundreds of stories about what the abuse was like. That’s not what it’s about . . . we want to know what is working, what’s not, and if we are going to build the best system for victims of abuse, what’s it look like?” she said.
More to be added soon. Contact the Glenn Inquiry at www.glenninquiry.org.nz