Claims for abuse while in care

If you have experienced abuse or neglect while in our care, you may be able to make a claim. Please talk to us – we can help find ways to support you.

Making a claim involves asking Oranga Tamariki to formally acknowledge that you have experienced abuse or neglect while in our care.

We want to support you in a journey towards healing that is oranga focused and mana-enhancing. We will work with you in ways that are:

  • relational
  • inclusive
  • restorative.

We will listen to your experiences, look into what has happened, and explore with you any support or healing you feel you need. This involves putting in place things that support you to heal and recover from these experiences.

Acknowledging the abuse or neglect you have experienced and having supports put in place to address the impact of the harm is known as 'redress' or 'resolution'.

Everyone's experience is unique, and what support looks like will vary. We will explore options that work best for you, and support you and your whānau to determine, enable and sustain your oranga (wellbeing).

If the information you share raises any safety concerns, we may forward this information to our National Contact Centre to ensure everyone's safety. We sometimes refer to this process as a report of concern.

Making a claim

You can start the claim process by: 

Oranga Tamariki is responsible for resolving claims for abuse and neglect in state care relating to events from 1 April 2017. If your claim is regarding abuse in state care before 1 April 2017, contact the Ministry of Social Development.

If you're not sure which Ministry to contact, or if your time in care was both before and after 2017, you can ask us about this – we will help assign your claim to the right agency.

Who can make a claim

You can make a claim if you feel you have been harmed through abuse or neglect while in the care of Oranga Tamariki. This includes:

  • whether you are under or over 18 years old
  • whether or not you are currently in care.

You can include a support person(s) to assist you through the process.

You can also advocate for tamariki who have experienced abuse or neglect while in the care of Oranga Tamariki. You might be a:

  • whānau member
  • professional advocate
  • legal advocate.

If you are unsure whether you were in care, or how Oranga Tamariki was involved with your whānau, get in touch with us.

We care about the experiences you've had and we'll be able to direct you to the correct team, even if a claims process isn't the right path for you.

What to expect

Learning about the process

You will have a claims advisor to guide you through making a claim. They will:

  • explain the process
  • ask how you would like to engage with the process
  • answer any questions that you have.

Sharing your experience

When you’re ready, your claims advisor will listen to your experience, and what these events have meant for you.

Talking about your experiences can be a challenging thing to do. We want the process to be as comfortable as possible for you, so please let us know how we can make this happen. If you need to, you can pause your claim at any time.

Building understanding

The next step will be for us to look into what happened and how it happened, to help better understand the situation.

Part of this will involve your claims advisor reading through relevant records, and it may also involve speaking with others, including wider whānau, your social worker, or other Oranga Tamariki kaimahi.

We will talk to you about this before we speak to other parties. We can also help to get you a copy of your records.


We will help to explore redress options that work for you, and assist in building understanding, acknowledging what has occurred, and supporting any healing from the harm you have suffered.

This process applies whether you are making a claim about abuse you have experienced yourself, or whether you are the advocate raising a claim on behalf of a tamaiti who has experienced abuse. 

Keeping you and your information safe

We are committed to keeping your information safe. Any information you provide, including your name, contact details, and information about your claim, will be collected to help us assess your claim.

The information we hold about you is protected under the Privacy Act 2020. We may need to share some information in some circumstances – we will talk to you about this first. 

We may need to speak to others to build an understanding of what happened. This could include your wider whānau, your social worker or other Oranga Tamariki kaimahi. We will talk to you about this before we make contact with other parties, so that you understand what that means.

We might want to let your parent, guardian, whānau, social worker, other Oranga Tamariki kaimahi or police know if there could be a risk to your safety, or to the safety of other children. We will have a conversation with you about this if we would like to do this.

Our guiding takepū (principles)

We are committed to working through this process in a way that works for you. We have developed 6 takepū (principles) which guide our claims process and our engagements with you. 

People focused – Tamariki, rangatahi, and support networks (including whānau, hapū, iwi and community) are at the centre of our claims process. We are focused on providing support that best meets your needs, in a way that works for you. 

Restorative – We are committed to delivering redress that is mana-enhancing, genuine and meaningful to you. This is a space where you can tell us about your experiences, and talk about the impact of the harm. It is a space for us to acknowledge this impact and take steps to put it right.  

Culturally responsive – We listen to, recognise, and value diverse backgrounds, beliefs, values, customs, and knowledge. We are committed to upholding and protecting your rights and interests. 

Accessible – We are committed to being flexible and facilitating various ways of engaging with us. Please let us know how we can make the process as comfortable as possible for you. We can find a way that works best for you. 

Transparent and accountable – We communicate clearly with you about the process and expected timeframes. We explain clearly what information will be collected and how it will be used and shared, why, and to whom. All information being considered during an investigation will be made available to you. 

Commitment to learning and promoting improvement, safety, and consistency – We recognise that harm can have impacts beyond the individual who experienced the abuse. We are committed to learning from the experiences that you share with us, and to using these learnings to make changes to the system to help prevent harm to others. 

Going to court

The Oranga Tamariki claims process aims to provide a more restorative resolution to your claim than going to court.

However, participating in the Oranga Tamariki claims process does not have any impact on any other legal rights you may have.

We have developed a Limitation Policy with other Crown agencies (the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Education) to help protect your right to go to court. This means that you will not be disadvantaged if you try and resolve your claim directly with Oranga Tamariki before filing your claim in Court.

If you have any questions about the Limitation Policy, we recommend that you seek legal advice. 


Published: July 19, 2023