18 September 2023
Dilworth Trust Board Receives Independent Inquiry Report
The Dilworth Trust Board today promises to examine the Independent Inquiry Report into abuse at Dilworth School with the utmost care and consideration.
Chairman Aaron Snodgrass said the Independent Inquiry – led by The Hon. Dame Silvia Cartwright ONZ and Frances Joychild KC – has shed light on events and behaviour that should never have occurred.
“The accounts of abuse endured by some former students, and the effect it has had on their lives, are heart breaking. The Report is unsparingly honest about our School’s historical failures to protect students. It will help us to learn from our past mistakes, which I hope will contribute in a meaningful way to the recovery and healing process for former students who were abused, their families and whānau.
“The Board apologises to all those who suffered abuse while students at our School. We also apologise to their families and whānau. The Report makes abundantly clear that it was not their fault – it was their School that failed to protect them and for that we are truly sorry.”
Mr Snodgrass said the Board honoured the courage of all those who came forward to speak with the independent Inquirers and share what they experienced at Dilworth.
“The Board acknowledges the participation of everyone who engaged with the Independent Inquiry – those who provided their testimony, those who supported them, and those who today will read the Report so they can better understand the historical abuse that took place at Dilworth.”
Mr Snodgrass also thanked the independent Inquirers and the Inquiry team for the care and commitment they have dedicated to their work and in producing the Report, which can be read here.
“The Board will now carefully consider the findings and recommendations in the Report to identify the steps Dilworth needs to take.
“It is important that all former students, particularly those who were abused, now have the space to read and digest the Inquiry Report. Today is about having the voices of the independent Inquirers and those who participated in the Inquiry heard, and out of respect for them, the Board will not be making any additional media comment,” said Mr Snodgrass.
Dilworth School today
The independent Inquirers found that the Dilworth community today is very different from that of previous eras. The Report commends Dilworth School’s current leadership team and the Board for the energy and commitment they have brought, particularly since 2018, to ensuring the safety of Dilworth students today to the highest standards possible.
“Dilworth staff are committed to providing a safe and caring school environment where there is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind,” said Headmaster Dan Reddiex.
“We have adopted the Australian Principles for Child Safe Organisations, developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which underpin our policies, procedures, practices, and culture. These guide us in ensuring that the safety and wellbeing of all tamariki and rangatahi are at the forefront of everything the School does and every decision that is made.
“Dilworth is focused on safety in all aspects of its work and provides expanded avenues for students and parents to speak out against abuse.
“As a result of the development and implementation of child safe policies, processes and culture, Dilworth School received Child Wise Accreditation in September 2022 – the first school in New Zealand to gain this recognition,” said Mr Reddiex.
The independent Dilworth Redress Programme Panel has previously said it would not make determinations of any applications for redress until sometime after publication of the Independent Inquiry’s Report. In July it confirmed that – because of the Inquiry Report’s delayed publication – it would not be able to start issuing determinations until the first quarter of 2024, said Mr Snodgrass.
“I remain mindful that the Redress Programme Panel operates and acts independently of Dilworth in its decisions and the redress determinations it will make. The Panellists are highly experienced people who are working diligently to ensure offers of redress are fair and that applicants are supported in the process.
“The Redress Programme remains available and we encourage former students who were abused to register their interest in making applications for redress if they have not already done so,” he said.
Mr Snodgrass said that a confidential Listening Service remains available to any Dilworth former student in New Zealand and overseas.
“Any former student who needs assistance can contact our fully funded, confidential, and independent Listening Service for access to professional counselling and psychological support. Please email [email protected] and an experienced psychologist will contact you.”