Common questions about Private Sessions

How will the Inquiry use the information from my private session?

Private sessions will be recorded and a written version of your conversation with the Commissioner will be created afterwards. You can ask us to send a copy of this written version after your session.

The inquiry may use your information in a number of ways:

  • To inform research that will be the basis of recommendations to help protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect in the future. For example, if survivors say that certain laws and policies did not protect them then analysing this information will help to show what needs to be changed.
  • To create summaries of survivor’s experiences, statistical reports, or thematic reports. These may be published in written form or online so that we can tell the public how many survivors have shared their experiences, or to raise awareness of the issues by providing examples of what survivors have told us.
  • To identify themes that will be investigated by the Inquiry and discussed in public hearings. For example, if lots of survivors talk about experiences in the same institution then this institution may become a theme to be investigated.

The information from private sessions will be kept secure, and access is strictly limited to Inquiry staff who need it for a specific purpose. Published work from the Inquiry may include anonymised quotes, paragraphs or summaries from what you share with us.

Your personal details will not be published, and we will make sure that no-one is able to identify you from any anonymised published information.

Will my information be kept private?

Yes, all information you provide is confidential. All Commissioners and staff have signed strict confidentiality agreements as part of their work. All support people attending a private session will be asked to confirm that they understand everything talked about in the session is confidential.

There are 4 important exceptions to this confidentiality.

  1. If you agree to give the information from your session to someone else. This includes sharing any notes you made, or if you made your own recording of the session.
  2. If you tell us about a current and serious risk to the health and safety of yourself or any other person (including a child or vulnerable adult), then the Inquiry will contact an appropriate person. This could include a mental health service or the police.
  3. If you tell us about serious criminal offending that is ongoing or planned for the future, then the Inquiry will contact the police.
  4. If a court orders the Inquiry to give them information.  If this happened, the Inquiry would only give the information it had to so that the terms of the order were met.

At the end of the Inquiry, all information created by the Inquiry will be transferred to Archives New Zealand and become part of the public record. Information from private sessions will have restricted access. This means that there would be no public access to the information for 100 years.

Share your experience with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care*

Step 1: Register with “Abuse in Care”

         Start the process by registering with the friendly Contact and Suppor Team, over the phone or by email.

  • Register by email: Email contact@abuseincare.org.nz with the subject “Register” and they will email you back to start your registration.
  • Register by phone: 0800 222 727 – 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday (NZT)
  • (Calling from Australia? 1800 875 745)
  • They can call you: Email contact@abuseincare.org.nz and include your full name, phone number and a suitable time for them to call you (between 10am and 4pm weekdays)

Step 2: Download the attached Reporting Guide for preparing either your verbal or written report.

These guidelines have been especially adapted to suit abuse survivors from a Jehovah’s Witness background or environment.