Press Release – Office of the Mayor of Auckland
The Mayor of Auckland has welcomed an independent inquiry into domestic violence and child abuse launched by entrepreneur and philanthropist, Owen Glenn.
It follows the announcement by Mr Glenn of an $8 million pilot programme to improve the lives of children and families based in Otara, where he and Len Brown both have strong links. It’s the first stage of an $80 million pledge to battle child abuse and domestic violence.
“Dramatically accelerating the prospects of our young people and children is one of the six transformational shifts that underpin the Auckland Plan,” says Len Brown. “Owen Glenn’s generous initiative will play an important role in working towards that objective.”
“New Zealand currently has very low rates of investment in children and young people. Additional spending can only be seen as an investment in our future.”
Press Release: Owen Glenn
Owen Glenn is launching an independent inquiry to establish why domestic violence and child abuse remains such a major issue in New Zealand. Funding it himself he also aims to identify what needs to be done to address this issue.
Owen Glenn is a man of his word, not only putting his money where his mouth is, but his time and energy too. In July Glenn launched a pilot programme in Otara pledging $8 million and tagging $80 million for his Foundation, The Glenn Family Foundation, to improve the lives of children and families in New Zealand and to reverse the horrific statistics for child abuse and domestic violence in New Zealand. At the time he also stated he was prepared to fund a Commission of Inquiry to establish why domestic violence and child abuse remains such a major issue in New Zealand and to identify what needs to be done to address this issue.
“Many New Zealanders responded extremely positively to my suggestion of an inquiry and my Foundation was inundated with offers of support and assistance from people from all walks of life.”
Glenn says while the Government believes it is doing enough, he is alarmed at the growing statistics that show that there has not yet been any real change.
“This issue is too important to ignore. I have set aside $80 million from my Trust specifically to help children and families live safer and better lives. To do this we must reduce child abuse and family violence in this country.”
Consequently Glenn has decided to establish an independent inquiry, in full it will be called – the Glenn Inquiry into all forms of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence in New Zealand, for convenience it will be referred to as the Glenn Inquiry. There will however be one notable point of difference between many previous inquiries and the Glenn Inquiry.
“This independent inquiry will not be limited to examining the problem and making recommendations for others to consider– it will produce an evidence based Blueprint for the future – a model, that if adopted, could set New Zealand as a world leader in addressing child abuse and domestic violence. That is my aim and I’m committed to achieving it.”
The Blueprint for Domestic Violence and Child Abuse will be similar to the Blueprint for Mental Health Services in New Zealand: How things need to be.
“It was produced 14 years ago and it lead to significant changes in the mental health sector in New Zealand and gained international recognition. In fact it was so successful that Blueprint II has recently been released to build on past achievements and provide a pathway to a future in which mental health and wellbeing becomes everybody’s responsibility. I hope that this independent inquiry will do the same thing.”
Glenn is well supported in his quest with Dame Catherine Tizard agreeing to be the inquiry’s patron.
Dame Catherine was the first female Mayor of Auckland City between 1983 and 1990. She was then appointed Governor-General of New Zealand, again the first woman to hold this position. Dame Catherine is a strong supporter of community, environmental, educational, and women’s causes. Her patronage of a wide range of charities and community groups went far beyond routine duties, and she took a passionate and practical interest in helping women who had been disadvantaged in any way to move forward. Her commitment to the values of justice, equality, and service set the path for others to follow.
An inquiry panel of three or four people will be appointed and detailed Terms of Reference developed. More details will be released as they become available. Glenn has appointed Ruth Herbert as the Director of the Glenn Inquiry. Herbert is the former Director Family Violence Programme for the Ministry of Social Development and a well known domestic violence researcher, campaigner and advocate. The Inquiry Panel will be supported by Herbert and a small secretariat. Subject matter experts will be engaged as required by the Inquiry Panel.
Dame Catherine believes addressing domestic violence and child abuse will require sustained effort over several generations.
“We cannot afford for these issues to be treated as political footballs with action depending on the priorities of the party or parties that are in Government at any one time. Owen Glenn is calling for all people, including political parties to put aside party politics and unite on this task – to work collaboratively and commit to a long term sustained and integrated response irrespective of which parties are in power at any particular time. This issue is vital for us as a country, which is why I’ve agreed to be involved.”
As the Inquiry gets underway Glenn says his team will be looking for opportunities to engage across the sector.
“We want to talk with people from Government, non-government and community agencies plus academics to capture those working at all levels. We need to engage with people at a policy, management level through to research and front line workers. This is not a political issue, everyone needs to be engaged in the Inquiry process and actively contribute to the Blueprint for it to be successful.”
Glenn is particularly keen to ensure that survivors of child abuse and domestic violence are given a voice.
“The Inquiry panel need to hear their stories to learn about areas where the system response is failing to ensure victim safety and perpetrator accountability. We want to hear their ideas about where changes need to be made for a more effective response.”
Glenn says the Inquiry and Blueprint will be as successful as all New Zealander’s choose to make it.
“I am under no illusions here; the Glenn Inquiry is for the future of your children and mine. This is about making New Zealand a better place and importantly this is about us all creating the society we can be proud of, something to leave behind for future generations.”