The woman who created a Givealittle page for Leon Jayet-Cole, set up after the 5-year-old was allegedly murdered, says refunding donors is the right thing to do.
Their donations were not going to be used how they thought, so it was only fair to give them back, she said.
Leon, a Christchurch 5-year-old who had autism, died in hospital on May 27 after suffering a serious head injury.
His stepfather James Stedman Roberts, 34, has been charged with his murder.
Leon's mother Emma Roberts, 37, has been charged with failing to seek medical treatment for the boy on the day he suffered the fatal injury.
Soon after Leon died, a Givealittle online fundraising page was set up Stacey Edlin, a cousin of Ms Roberts.
Money raised was to be used to pay for Leon's funeral and support his family. However ACC funded the funeral, so Ms Edlin became concerned that the money would not be used for the purpose it was donated.
She alerted Givealittle, who were already investigating a number of complaints from other people about the page.
"Those who donated needed to be able to trust that the money they had so generously given was being used for what they believed it was being fundraised for and as this was not the case I feel it was necessary to refund those people," Ms Edlin said.
After Givealittle learned that ACC had funded the funeral and his mother wanted to use donations to take her other children on holiday and buy items for her newborn baby, the money was withheld.
Yesterday it confirmed donations would be refunded as "the use of the funds materially changed" from what was specified on the page.
Emma Roberts did not respond to the Herald. But posted a link to yesterday's story on her Facebook page and commented on it.
"So, giving my children a well-deserved break after going through such a traumatic time is deemed unsatisfactory? Who are they to decide anyway?
"I am glad that everyone got refunded... I just feel, yet again, judged and condemned."
Ms Edlin said she had not been associated with her family for "many years" but still wanted to help when Leon died.
"This page was set up within a few days of Leon's tragic death in an effort to help the family with funeral expenses and associated costs," she said.
When the page was set up she was not aware that ACC covered funerals where a death was caused by injury. She was "surprised" to later find that out and said discussions were held about what to do with the money if funeral expenses were covered.
"No decision had been made but there had been discussions that this money would pay for his headstone, with the remainder put into trust for Leon's siblings."
She said that had not been specified on the Givealittle page because a final decision had not been reached.
"Givealittle have to make the decision that is best for their donors in order to maintain the integrity of the site and I respect that. They took the decision to refund the donors as is their right."
She said the family had wide support outside the Givealittle page.
"The outpouring of support and love towards this darling little boy and his wider family was of great comfort to all during a particularly horrific time," she said.
Givealittle receive "numerous" complaints
Givealittle spokeswoman Georgia Moselen-Sloog told the Herald yesterday that after an internal investigation, started after "numerous" public complaints, every dollar donated to Leon's family would be refunded "immediately".
Ms Moselen-Sloog said the both Ms Edlin and Ms Roberts had confirmed that ACC had covered funeral costs.
"Leon's mother petitioned Givealittle to confirm her as the beneficiary and payee, releasing the funds raised directly to her to take her other children on a holiday and purchase new items for a newborn baby," she said.
Ms Moselen-Sloog acknowledged the secondary purpose of the page was for "general support" for Leon's family. However, items for a new baby and a holiday were not considered appropriate.
"This use of funds is a material change and given [the ongoing court proceedings] we do not feel this is a satisfactory.
"This morning we advised all parties to this page that we have concluded our investigation and the decision is an immediate refund of all donations."
When someone dies of an injury, regardless of how it is caused, their family can apply for an ACC funeral grant of up to $6000. It's understood that in cases where a life is lost as the result of a crime the Ministry of Justice can provide additional funding.