Confronting the issue of abuse at Dilworth School

Since its doors first opened in 1906, more than 5,500 boys have been educated at Dilworth School.

Today, Dilworth is one of the largest boarding schools in the Southern Hemisphere, with all 560 students receiving scholarships.

The Will of founder James Dilworth set out clear instructions that his estate be used to establish a school so those from straitened circumstances may have the opportunity of a first-class education in order to be good and useful citizens.

That some students who attended Dilworth School suffered abuse during their time at Dilworth is completely unacceptable.

About Dilworth Response

Dilworth Response encompasses the Dilworth Trust Board’s response to fully confronting the issue of historical sexual and other abuse that occurred at our School openly and honestly.

Dilworth has proactively participated in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care and the NZ Police Investigation Operation Beverly, which resulted in the prosecution and conviction of a large number of the perpetrators of the abuse. Dilworth will continue to provide support to former students who have been abused in their complaints to the Police.

Board Chair, Aaron Snodgrass, has apologised to all former students who were abused while in Dilworth’s care and to their families and whānau. In doing so, he has acknowledged that the School's procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse were inadequate and did not meet the standards of today.

To support former students who were abused during their time at the School, an independent, confidential Listening Service was launched in September 2019. This provides access to fully funded professional psychological services and support.

Since its inception, the Listening Service has helped former students who have been abused to access confidential, fully funded psychological support services in New Zealand and other parts of the world.

In 2021, the School announced it would establish an Independent Inquiry and an independent Redress Programme as part of our response to the issue of abuse.

Both programmes were established in 2022, following an extensive feedback process led by the Board on the proposed terms for each programme, involving former students who were abused at Dilworth, those affected by abuse and the wider Dilworth community. The two programmes are independent of each other, with no oversight, influence, or involvement by the Board.

The Independent Inquiry, led by Dame Silvia Cartwright with Frances Joychild KC as Co-Inquirer, published its report on 18 September 2023. You can read the Report here. The Board has accepted and is acting on all 19 of the Inquiry Report’s recommendations. You can read more about its response here.

The independent Redress Programme was launched on 29 August 2022 and is designed to support former students who were abused through various forms of redress including financial awards, access to funded psychological therapy and support, an apology, and other forms of personalised redress.

Dilworth School today

Over the last five years Dilworth School has actively made major changes to the way it works to care for and protect its students.

Headmaster Dan Reddiex and the staff at Dilworth School are committed to providing a safe and caring school environment where there is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind.

Dilworth has adopted the Australian Principles for Child Safe Organisations, developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which underpin the policies, procedures, practices, and culture within the School to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of all tamariki/rangatahi are at the forefront of everything the School does and are at the centre of every decision that is made.

As a result of the development and implementation of child safe policies, processes and culture, Dilworth School received Child Wise Accreditation in September 2022 – and is the first school in New Zealand to gain this recognition.