Some of the country's most powerful religious bodies are fighting to keep names of abusers secret during the upcoming Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry hearing.
The Catholic Church, Anglican Church and Salvation Army say they have applied for non-publication orders because they have not been given enough time to contact those who will be named, and the families of those now deceased.
But survivor advocates say the moves are "extremely disturbing" and add another layer of doubt and fear to those courageously speaking publicly about "horrific abuse" for the first time.
The commission is investigating the abuse and neglect that happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care from 1950 to 1999, along with the processes of redress that followed for survivors.
Over September and October it heard about abuse in state institutions, and from November 30 it is to hear from survivors of abuse in faith-based care.
Just 10 days out from that hearing beginning, the Catholic Church has applied for non-publication orders regarding names of certain individuals to be discussed by survivors - some to be accused of crimes for the first time publicly - and for specific parts of evidence and privileged information to be redacted.
This differed to the approach taken during the Crown redress hearings, held from September and October, where no general non-publication orders were made, and instead they were applied for - and granted - on a case-by-case basis during the hearing.
The Anglican Church and Salvation Army, both also joined the procedural hearing, held in Auckland on Friday, applying for the names of those who are deceased to be redacted as a general rule.
Sally McKechnie, counsel for the Catholic Church, said they had been given insufficient time to give notice to those who were to be named in survivor statements, and the families of those who were deceased.
In some situations they had only been granted permission to speak to the witnesses a few days ago, some of whom they had still not been able to reach.
Some situations involved speaking to family of deceased people who were going to be publicly accused of crimes for the first time, she said.
She acknowledged the commission counsel had been "working as hard as they can" in preparing the documents, but they had been given timeframes "unconscionably short".
Certain parts of the evidence contained "serious criminal allegations", which were disputed, McKechnie said.
So as not to have to confront and question the survivors on the stand, whom were already vulnerable, McKechnie said they were applying for parts of it to be redacted.
"You are being protective of survivors so nothing adds to their trauma?" asked commission chair Coral Shaw.
"Yes, that is the sole reason," McKechnie said.
Katherine Anderson, counsel assisting the commission, argued against a general non-publication order and rather they be made at the time where appropriate.
Commission assisting counsel Natalie Coates spoke of the potential precedents to come out of Peter Ellis' landmark appeal in the Supreme Court, which was allowed despite his death.
While the view that mana continues after death grabbed headlines, the case also discussed important ideas of when there's been a hara, or wrong, committed there's a need for there to be a state of air, or rebalancing or rewriting.
These ideas could be factored into the arguments for naming those accused of abuse who were deceased, she said.
Lawyer Sonja Cooper, whose firm Cooper Legal has represented thousands of survivors of abuse in care, said many spoke out because they did not believe they were the only ones who suffered at the hands of their abusers.
"It is not just about what happened to [them], but about what happened to others.
"The orders being sought do not allow [them] to do that in an unencumbered manner.
"The perpetrator is deceased, whereas [they are] not. [They have] to live with the abuse every day.
"It takes a great deal for a survivor to come forward, and I think it is important they do so in a way that feels comfortable.
"It will difficult to explain to [survivors] why people that harmed them should be protected."
Dr Murray Heasley, spokesman for the Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions and their Supporters, told the Herald he was "deeply troubled" by the non-publication applications.
"What [the survivors] are doing is heroic. Many made their statements thinking they would be free to speak to the horrors of their childhoods.
"It is deeply troubling to have these further huge demands made of them, many speaking for the first time publicly, adding an extra layer of doubt and fear."
Heasley was also critical of the commission for giving such a short timeframe to the faith-based groups to respond to the statements, which allowed them to make these applications.
Commission chair Coral Shaw issued an interim non-publication order prohibiting the names and any identifying features of individuals.
The decision regarding the non-publication applications was reserved and would likely be announced this week.
• The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is investigating the abuse and neglect that happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care from 1950 to 1999. It may also consider experiences of abuse or neglect outside these dates.
• As of November, 2277 people had registered with the Royal Commission, of whom 1930 were defined as survivors. The others are survivor advocates and family members of survivors. The commissioners have also held 578 private sessions.
• The State Redress Hearings ran from September to November. The first part focused on the experiences of survivors in seeking redress for abuse in state care. The second involved Crown agencies responding to survivors' evidence and outlining past and current policies and processes.
• The Royal Commission is conducting specific investigations into a range of other areas, including one focused on Māori - who have made up over half of those taken into state care, Catholic and Anglican churches, people with disabilities and those in psychiatric care.
• The next public hearing will focus on redress for those in faith-based care, and start on November 30. A second stage will start in March next year, followed by Abuse in State children's residential care in April and one Abuse in State psychiatric care, specifically Lake Alice, in June.
• After completing its investigations, the Royal Commission will make recommendations to the Governor-General on how New Zealand can better care for children, young people and vulnerable adults.
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