State care abuse survivors take Crown to court over ‘grave’ compensation concerns

A group of state care abuse survivors are taking the Attorney-General David Parker to court over a repayment scheme that they argue doesn’t acknowledge the serious sexual, physical and psychological abuse that they were subjected to.

The dispute looks at the Ministry of Social Development’s Rapid Payment Framework, which offers quick payouts based on how long a person was involved with Child, Youth and Family (CYF).

The four complainants, through their lawyer, say their main concern is the settlement agreement survivors have to sign to receive the payment.

The Attorney-General’s office declined to comment on the matter.

The payments were introduced as a way of offering advance payments to historic abuse survivors who, due to age and ill-health, may not be alive when the new redress system is introduced, according to MSD.

Once a person takes a rapid payment, claimants can take part in any new process which could include the chance to tell their story or receive an apology – but not necessarily more money.

Payments are dished out depending on years-spent in care, with the lowest range being under 5 years, at $10,000 and the highest being over 15 years, at $25,000.

Representing the survivors, lawyer Sonja Cooper argues that the payments don’t take into consideration survivors lived experiences in state care.

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