Dilworth seeks feedback on proposed Redress Programme and Independent Inquiry to confront historical abuse

15 March 2022
Media release from Dilworth Trust Board

From today, the Dilworth Trust Board is seeking feedback from its Old Boy survivors of abuse, those affected by abuse and the wider Dilworth community on two proposed programmes that are being developed in response to historical abuse that occurred at Dilworth School.

Once feedback has helped finalise their design, an independent Redress Programme for Old Boy survivors, and an Independent Inquiry into historical abuse at the School, will be launched. They will both function independently of, and with no control or oversight by Dilworth School or the Dilworth Trust Board.

Dilworth Trust Board Chairman Aaron Snodgrass says the abuse suffered by Old Boys at the School in the past is, and was, completely unacceptable.

“We are deeply sorry for the hurt caused to Old Boy survivors while in our care. Nothing we do today can undo the past, but we are committed to supporting Old Boy survivors and confronting the issue of historical abuse openly and honestly with our community,” he says.

In designing and developing these proposed programmes, the Dilworth Trust Board consulted with experts in New Zealand and internationally who have established similar programmes addressing abuse of children, young men and vulnerable adults. Guided by interim recommendations from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, the Board has also sought, and taken on board, feedback from Old Boy survivor groups and their representatives over several months. The Board now welcomes feedback from all Old Boy survivors and the wider Dilworth community.

“Our goal is to bring resolution and redress to Old Boy survivors faster than would otherwise be the case, while ensuring that it is meaningful. Redress will be tailored to each Old Boy survivor, and may include providing access to counselling and psychological services; a direct personal response from Dilworth, including an apology; redress payment; and other forms of redress which may be requested by the Survivor,” says Mr Snodgrass.

Mr Snodgrass says the proposed Redress Programme and the Independent Inquiry would be run concurrently and independently of each other, and of the School.

“We propose establishing an independent Redress Programme, led by an independent Redress Panel, to expedite access to redress for our Old Boy survivors. Applying for redress through the Dilworth Redress Programme will not prevent survivors from accessing the Government’s puretumu torowhānui redress scheme when it is established at a later date, should they wish to do so.

“The Dilworth Redress Programme will be confidential and accessible, and we are determined to make it as easy as possible for all Old Boy survivors to engage with the process, and at no cost to them,” says Mr Snodgrass.

The proposed Independent Inquiry will seek to provide an understanding of the nature and extent of abuse by Dilworth representatives of students while at Dilworth School, the School’s response to complaints of abuse, the factors that caused or contributed to the abuse occurring, and to ensure current and future students continue to be safe at Dilworth.

“In December 2021, we announced our intention to commission an Independent Inquiry to take into account the experiences of our Old Boy survivors, so those who had no voice then, will have the opportunity to be heard now,” Mr Snodgrass says.

“The proposed independent Redress Programme and Independent Inquiry have not been finalised. Listening to feedback is paramount to the development of these programmes and we are grateful for the feedback we have received from some Old Boy survivor groups over the last six months. It is now time to hear the views of all of our Old Boy survivors and members of the wider Dilworth community.”

“We share our community’s desire to learn the hard lessons that must come from this deeply upsetting part of our School’s history,” adds Mr Snodgrass.

Today, a new website www.dilworthresponse.org.nz has been launched to provide information about the Dilworth Trust Board’s proposed response to historical abuse at the School. It is a place to learn more about and submit feedback on the proposed independent Redress Programme and Independent Inquiry. Feedback can also be provided anonymously, and also by email or by freepost. The deadline for feedback to be received is 5pm, 13 April 2022.

Aaron Snodgrass message to Old Boys

Dilworth Trust Board Chair’s message to the Old Boy community about two proposed programmes being established as part of the Dilworth Trust Board’s response to addressing historical abuse at Dilworth School.