Native Affairs - An allegation of abuse

By Aroha Awarau

A former social worker claims children in state care were placed with a known paedophile.

Social work lecturer Paora Moyle alleges when she worked for Child Youth and Family in 2005, she witnessed children being placed in the care of a known paedophile.

“We were so desperate for caregivers that the team, the social work team knew this guy was a paedophile and still placed children in his care.”

Moyle was a CYFs family group conference coordinator in 2005, now known as the Ministry for Vulnerable Children. She says her complaints about placing children with a paedophile were not taken seriously.

“I put in complaints about it and I wasn’t heard. You become the person that is the trouble maker or the one that shouldn’t be believed. I eventually left because I couldn’t cope,” she says.

“You see the good practice and you want to become a good practitioner but you see the corrupt practice. Some of the things that are allowed to occur is systemic.”

Native Affairs approached the Ministry for Vulnerable Children about Moyle’s claims. Deputy Chief Executive Greg Versailko says they checked their records and have no complaints on file from Moyle.

“The Ministry is not able to comment on vague allegations going back around 10 to 15 years. We will look into specific concerns if you provide the details,” says Versailko.

Moyle is providing evidence for a Treaty of Waitangi claim focused on the abuse of Māori children in state care. She says the Government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry into state care abuse is a cover up, a way of protecting those who caused harm.

“We need the inquiry to acknowledge that want went on is not okay and to apologise for all that happened to the thousands of children who went through state care.”

Moyle and her two younger brothers became wards of the state when she was five. During this time, she claims she was sexually and physically abused. Moyle’s experiences inspired her to become a social worker. “I wanted to get into the system and change it from the inside.”

Moyle is currently studying towards a PHD in social work and has been outspoken about past injustices within the system.

“There are stories I talk about throughout my childhood that I call upon as an example of my tipuna willing me to survive, to be resilient, to tell the story and never be silent.”