Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Glenn inquiry stonewalling

Source close to violence probe says it should speak up

Sir Owen Glenn's inquiry is not moving as fast as it should. Photo / NZ Herald
Sir Owen Glenn's inquiry is not moving as fast as it should. Photo / NZ Herald

The Glenn inquiry into family violence has an ethical obligation to release its findings as soon as possible, a source close to the inquiry says.

Chief executive Kirsten Rei told the Herald on Sunday a month ago that the first report was being prepared for release. Yet this has still not happened.

This newspaper was refused numerous requests for interviews and updates this week. The inquiry has been struck by a string of controversies, including the resignations of more than two dozen high-profile trustees.

A source close to the inquiry said there was an ethical obligation to people who had shared their stories to release information as soon as possible.

"Somebody needs to start asking, 'what are these guys doing?' The public needs to know and the people who have been interviewed need to know. We're talking domestic violence victims. Somebody needs to say, 'it's not okay for them to collect people's most intimate information and keep stonewalling everybody'.

"A lot of work has been done — hundreds of survivors and frontline workers have been interviewed. If nothing else, they have an ethical responsibility to report on those stories that those people have told the inquiry."

Rei did not answer specific questions, including about the delay, but released a brief statement which said the inquiry continued to progress as expected.

"We've listened to those who are affected by abuse and to those who work on the front line, and we're working with their suggestions and with experts to help in the process of forming a plan.

"The issue of child abuse and domestic violence in New Zealand is an incredibly important one, and we have to be thorough in gathering and considering the information presented to us."

Inquiry member Marama Davidson said interviews with victims of domestic violence and frontline workers had concluded in January.
Inquiry member Marama Davidson said interviews with victims of domestic violence and frontline workers had concluded in January.

Inquiry member Marama Davidson said interviews with victims of domestic violence and frontline workers had concluded in January.

More than 300 people had been interviewed, whose stories were very hard to hear, she said.

"It affirmed that we have some deep structural and attitudinal issues that we have to reflect on and there are some urgent things we need to fix," Davidson said.

She said no further panel members had resigned since 14 of the original 25 members quit after reports Sir Owen had been accused of physically abusing a young woman in Hawaii in 2002.

He said there was no truth to the allegation.

It was dealt another blow when Internal Affairs began looking into allegations about irregular payments. The department said the investigation was ongoing.

- Herald on Sunday

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