HRC and CYFS statistics

Leah Trass made this Official Information request to Human Rights Commission

The request was successful.

From: Leah Trass

Dear Human Rights Commission,

Recently, our organisation PANIC presented the HRC with a letter of our concerns in regard to CYFS and the children of New Zealand. The response from the HRC was, in my opinion, less than satisfactory, being that the HRC would "hold this information on our records".

To this regard, I would like to request the following information under the Official Information Act:

How many Human Rights breaches has the HRC received in relation to CYFS?

With regards to s12 of the OIA, I am an NZ citizen and in NZ.

Yours faithfully,

Leigh Baillie

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From: Infoline
Human Rights Commission





8 March 2013


Dear Leigh

Thank you for your email, which was received by the Human Rights
Commission on 3 March 2013.

We will now consider your request and will contact you within 20 working

If you need to contact us, telephone 0800 496 877 or email
[Human Rights Commission request email] . We are able to provide confidential services for
interpreting in 42 languages, and NZ Relay Service for those with speech
or hearing impairments.


Yours sincerely


Neil Towse Infoline Advisor | Kaituku Korero

New Zealand Human Rights Commission | Te Kāhui Tika Tangata

Telephone Toll free 0800 496 877 | T: +64 9 309 0874 | F: +64 9 377 3593

PO Box 6751, Wellesley St | Level 3, Zurich House, 21 Queen Street,
Auckland 1141

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From: Pele Walker
Human Rights Commission

Ref: 92823




2 April 2013


Leigh Baillie

PANIC (Positive Answers Needed In Crisis)


By email: l[1][email address]


Dear Leigh,


official information ACT request


I refer to your Official Information Act request dated 3 March 2013.  You
asked: “How many Human Rights breaches has the HRC received in relation to
Child Youth and Family (CYF)?”


Your request is framed in very broad terms and a response would involve
the Human Rights Commission (the Commission) retrieving and collating
records from 1978.  In order to give you an overview of the types and
numbers of complaints received and ensuring the time frame was within the
Commission’s capacity, the Commission has collated data for the year 2012.


So that you can make some sense of the data, below is some information
about the Commission, including the types of complaints it receives, how
they are assessed  and what is offered in terms of process.


The Commission can approach human rights issues in two ways – proactively
and generally through its broader mandate, or reactively and specifically
through its complaints mechanisms.


The complaints jurisdiction is limited to issues of unlawful
discrimination affecting those who have suffered detriment.


Section 5 of the Human Rights Act (the Act) includes the primary functions
of the Commission, and gives the Commission the ability to “receive and
invite representations from members of the public on any matter affecting
human rights”.


The Commission receives many representations and complaints from the
public, of these very few involve issues of unlawful discrimination, that
is, alleged breaches of the Human Rights Act.


Over the year 2012, there were 67 approaches made to the Commission
involving CYF, and of these, 8 were complaints of alleged unlawful
discrimination under the Human Rights Act.


Six complaints involved allegations of unlawful discrimination on the
grounds of disability; one involved an allegation of unlawful
discrimination on the grounds of age; and one involved an allegation of
unlawful discrimination on the grounds of family status.


The Commission does not make a decision whether or not these complaints
breached the Act.  The Commission provides a dispute resolution process
for any complaints that may, on the face of the complaint, breach the
Act.  This process primarily involves mediation.


The other 58 complaints did not involve unlawful discrimination and were
either closed following a discussion with staff or directed to other staff
within the Commission or to another agency more suited to follow up the


These matters involved;

·         Reporting abuse – 6

·         Challenging CYF’s decisions – 5

·         Complaints about CYF’s interview processes. – 1

·         Custody and placement issues – 31

·         Customer service issues – 15.


Many of these issues involve court orders. Section 79(3) of the Act
prohibits the Commission from taking action if the complaint concerns a
judgment or other order of a court, or an act or omission of a court
affecting the conduct of any proceedings.


If you wish to discuss any aspect of your request or this response, or if
you require any further assistance, please contact Hilary Unwin,
Operations leader and mediator, Enquiries and Complaints, 04 471 6757.



Yours sincerely


Pele Walker

Acting Chief Mediator
Human Rights Commission  
DDI: 04 474 0723  |  T: +64 4 473 9981  
PO Box 12411 Thorndon Wellington



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