ZB

Strictly confidential: Victim Support report on bullying under wraps

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jun 2022, 12:31pm
Victim Support's charity board says the report into allegations of bullying was never intended to be a public document. Photo / 123RF, File
Victim Support's charity board says the report into allegations of bullying was never intended to be a public document. Photo / 123RF, File

Strictly confidential: Victim Support report on bullying under wraps

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jun 2022, 12:31pm

By Katie Scotcher & Anneke Smith of RNZ

Victim Support has finally given the Ministry of Justice a full copy of a report into allegations of bullying and service failure but under the condition very few people see it.

The charity's board has, until now, sat on the document - saying it was never intended to be a public document.

The charity's chair, Lorraine Scanlon, told RNZ in a statement a copy of the report was shared with justice officials following assurances it would only be reviewed by a "restricted group" and kept confidential.

"Obtaining these confidentiality undertakings from the Ministry of Justice was critical to ensuring the National Board of Victim Support upholds its commitment to those people who accepted the invitation to participate in the investigation, that their identity would be protected, and that any information provided by them would be kept confidential and anonymous."

Victim Support national chairwoman Lorraine Scanlon. Photo / Bevan Conley, File

Victim Support national chairwoman Lorraine Scanlon. Photo / Bevan Conley, File

A copy of the report has still not been given to Victim Support staff or those who were interviewed as part of the investigation into the workplace. This is despite the report being anonymised by independent investigator Charlotte Stevens.

Scanlon told RNZ that the charity made a "firm commitment" to anyone who participated in the investigation that their identity would be protected.

"Although the report does not specify names, there are references to roles performed and our people's stories, all of which can identify individuals. Further, to ensure the board fully understood the nature and extent of the concerns raised, and to allow us to take the required action, the report contains direct quotes and detailed feedback.

"The board's decision to keep the investigation report confidential is driven by these key considerations and by the need to honour our commitment to protect the deeply personal information shared by the 88 people who participated in the independent investigation.

"We firmly believe it would be highly inappropriate, and contrary to Victim Support's values, if the full report, which could identify those involved, was shared widely."

 Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has urged Victim Support to be more transparent. Photo / Alex Burton, File

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has urged Victim Support to be more transparent. Photo / Alex Burton, File

The Ministry of Justice has not yet responded to RNZ's request for comment on the development.

On Wednesday, Justice Minister Kris Faafoi urged Victim Support to be more transparent with its staff.

"Justice officials met with Victim Support last week. I think it's fair to say that they weren't, and the read-out I got from the meeting I wasn't, necessarily happy with the response Victim Support was giving to officials."

He declined RNZ's request for comment last night.