Historical Abuse Allegations Against Teachers
A Royal Commission of Inquiry is looking into what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in State and faith-based care in Aoteoroa New Zealand between the years 1950-99, although they are not limited to that timeframe. As part of this inquiry, allegations may be made against teachers.
What is the Council's role?
The Teaching Council is the professional body for teachers. Our purpose is to ensure safe and high-quality leadership, teaching, and learning for children and young people in early childhood, primary, secondary, and senior secondary schooling in English medium and Māori medium settings through raising the status of the profession.
Who we can investigate?
The Teaching Council has the authority to investigate current and former registered teachers and people who are (or were) authorised to teach. Current registered teachers can be found on the Register of New Zealand Registered Teachers. Current individuals with an authority to teach can be found on the Limited Authority to Teach list.
If your complaint is against a former registered teacher or former authority holder they will not appear on the public registers. You are still able to make a complaint against these former registered teachers or authority holders using the contact information below. The Council has set up a process for managing these inquiries which you can see here.
What will we do when we receive an allegation?
If the allegation relates to a currently registered teacher or authority holder, then our normal process will be followed, where the allegations will be considered by a Triage Committee who will decide whether or not to investigate.
If the decision is made to investigate then the Triage Committee will refer all or part of the allegations for investigation in line with the Council’s usual process.
As part of this investigation process, your name and the allegations that you have made will need to be provided to the teacher. You may also be encouraged to speak to the Police and/or the Ministry of Education. During the investigation process the teacher’s employer may be informed of the allegations that have been made.
If the allegation relates to a former registered teacher or authority holder then the allegations will be considered by the Triage Committee who will decide the most appropriate outcome. Part of this initial assessment will focus on whether there is a potential safety risk to children or young people in early childhood, primary, secondary and senior secondary schooling.
If the Triage Committee decide not to investigate, then the allegation will be recorded on our secure case management system. This ensures, should the individual decide to apply for registration in the future, there is a record of the concerns. This does not prevent the individual from re-applying but will be considered as part of the re-registration process. The Teaching Council will also, ideally with your consent, refer the allegations to an appropriate investigative agency. This could include the Police, Oranga Tamariki or the Ministry of Education.
How do I make a complaint?
- Submit a complaint using our complaint form which can be found here.
- An 0800 Historic number has been set up specifically to respond to historic allegations. The number is 0800 002 458.
What if I want compensation or recognition for what happened?
The Ministry of Education run a ‘historic claims’ process to respond to allegations which occurred prior to 1989. More information about that process can be found here. For more recent claims they may refer your claim to the school where the alleged incident occurred, if still in operation.
Where can I get support?
The Royal Commission website refers to these providers for people engaging in their inquiry:
- Alcohol and Drug Helpline(external link) 0800 787 797 or online chat for people dealing with an alcohol or other drug problem; 10 am to 10 pm)
- Anxiety phone line(external link) 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)
- Depression Helpline(external link) 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions)
- Family Services 211 Helpline(external link) 0800 211 211 for help finding (and direct transfer to) community based health and social support services in your area.
- Lifeline(external link) 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
- Need to talk?(external link) Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
- OUTline NZ(external link) 0800 688 5463 (OUTLINE) provides confidential telephone support for sexuality or gender identity issues; 9 am to 9 pm weekdays, and 6 pm to 8 pm weekends)
- Rape Crisis(external link) 0800 883 300 (for support after rape or sexual assault)
- Safe to talk(external link) (Available 24/7) 0800 044 334, free txt 4334, email email@example.com, live webchat on www.safetotalk.nz. Free and confidential information and support from trained counsellors for people affected by sexual harm in any way.
Samaritans(external link) 0800 726 666
Skylight, 0800 299 100 for trauma, loss and grief; 9am–5pm weekdays
- Suicide Crisis(external link) Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- Supporting Families in Mental Illness(external link) For families and whānau supporting a loved one who has a mental illness. Auckland 0800 732 825.
- Victim Support(external link) This free service provides emotional and practical support, information, financial assistance, referral to other support services and advocacy for the rights of victims.
- Youthline (external link)0800 376 633, free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or online chat