2021-01-22 NEW ZEALAND

Br. John Hazelman: “We should have protected those in our care from any form of abuse”

“I essentially apologize for the historical abuses that caused pain and suffering to those in our care in the previous decades”, said Br. John Hazelman, leader of the District of the Pacific, in his video message on behalf of the Marist Brothers. The district is present in four countries: Fiji, Kiribat, New Zealand and Samoa.

“For students of today our Marist schools are places of achievement, where every child is valued for who they are and who they can become”, Br. John stated in the video message.

“We should have protected those in our care from any form of abuse and, thankfully, we now recognize it for what it is – it is a criminal offence”.

Like other catholic institutions, the Marist community of New Zealand is collaborating with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, that is looking into what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care. The Catholic Church’s involvement in the Royal Commission process is based on the following principles:

  • regard all forms of abuse as unacceptable and indefensible
  • accept the responsibility to continue to act to stop abuse
  • listen to, learn from, and support survivors
  • act swiftly on complaints and follow them through
  • commit to ensuring transparency.

Disclosing abuse and seeking redress is an important and difficult step for survivors on their long journey of healing. The Royal Commission offers a welcome opportunity for people to share their stories of abuse and the lasting impacts of this abuse. The public hearing process will be the first time when some people’s experiences of abuse have been discussed in a public forum.

The Marists are listening respectfully to the experiences of all who have been harmed and apologies  to victims of historical abuse and acknowledge with deep regret the impacts that such experiences have had in people’s lives.

Read the full statement here.


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