The Catholic Church has apologised to survivors of abuse in its care, in New Zealand, for the first time.
Faith-based institutions have been giving evidence at the second part of the Abuse in Care inquiry's redress hearings. Friday was one of the busiest days in the inquiry's public gallery, where Archbishop of Wellington John Dew is on the stand.
Dew said the Church "offers no excuses" for actions that have caused harm. "We acknowledge all victims and survivors who have not yet been able to speak or may never be able to.
"We hear you in the silence and through those who speak for you," Dew said. "We thank you all for your bravery and courage.
Dew said people should have been able to trust the Church and those who abused them. He acknowledged that instead "we caused you pain, hurt and trauma and this continues to impact you".
"Any kind of abuse is unacceptable and indefensible. We are deeply sorry."
Dew spoke of being "committed to a church that spares no effort to create a culture that prevents abuse and any possibility of cover ups.
"To a church that listens and learns from you and then acts."
He apologised "on behalf of the bishops and congregational leaders of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand".
Dew said systems and culture within the church had allowed abuses to happen. "These systems failed you and must change."
It comes a little over a week after the Anglican Church also apologised to survivors, with Bishop of Auckland Ross Bay saying he apologised on behalf of the diocese.
"I hope this process [the inquiry] gives you the strength to share your suffering so that the Anglican church has the opportunity to not only make it right but also to learn from these instances of abuse and neglect.