The Salvation Army says that children and vulnerable people were abused in its care is a "source of great shame" and the Christian organisation has pledged not to "duck and weave" in accepting responsibility.
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission is holding a two-week public hearing, starting today in Auckland, into the faith-based redress processes.
It is the second part and follows on from late 2020, when survivors shared their experiences of abuse and seeking recognition and redress.
Leaders from the Salvation Army, Anglican Church and Catholic Church - including a bishops and archbishops - will give evidence on how their church has dealt with claims of abuse and earlier evidence from survivors.
On Monday Salvation Army Chief Secretary Colonel Gerry Walker apologised to survivors of abuse in a Salvation Army care context, and explained their policies for dealing with abuse allegations.
"The Salvation Army acknowledges, and deeply regrets, that children and vulnerable people in its care were the subject of abuse.
"This is a source of great shame for The Salvation Army in New Zealand and, on behalf of The Salvation Army, I unreservedly apologise to all victims of such abuse."
One of those survivors, Roy Takiaho, told the Commission in December of abuse he suffered as a child in the Salvation Army's Hodderville Boys' Home in South Waikato.
He described it as one of the ugliest places on Earth and where he experienced sexual, mental and physical abuse.
Years later a Salvation Army field worker came to see him in prison to start the army's redress process for the abuse at the hands of the Church.
Takiaho said he wanted his abusers to be held accountable, but instead he was being offered money and felt the abuse was being swept under the carpet.
This experience triggered Takiaho, and he ended up stabbing a paedophile inmate.
Walker said they acknowledged their processes "have not always been perfect", but they had sought to engage with survivors "positively, respectfully and sincerely".
Part of this involved providing personal apologies to survivors and compensation.
There had been 36 historical claims - prior to the year 2000 - and eight of these involved financial compensation, Walker said.
Financial recompense was often not sought, with survivors wanting an apology or to gain a better understanding of how their alleged abuse has been dealt with, he said.
The organisation was regularly reviewing its processes and would be open to the idea of an independent body to oversee abuse claims as had been suggested by survivors, he said.
Earlier Murray Heasley and Liz Tonks of the Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-Based Institutions said an independent body, which would investigate both abuse in faith and state care, was "urgently needed".
"No survivor should ever experience the retrauma they have of being required to report their abuse, have it investigated and negotiate redress with the institution that failed to keep them safe," Tonks said.
• To register with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care phone 0800 222 727 or email email@example.com. More information can be found online.
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