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Historic Abuse - Make a claim

It’s important to us that claimants have full details about the claims process. The MSD Historic Claims Business Process and Guidance Handbook provides more detail about the claims process. If you have any questions about your claim, please contact us on 0800 631 127.

If you feel you have been unjustly treated while in the care of the Child Welfare Division, the Department of Social Welfare, the New Zealand Children and Young Persons Service, or Child, Youth and Family, please talk to us.

If you have concerns about your time in care after 1 April 2017, please contact Oranga Tamariki.

Possible scam email warning

We've been made aware of a possible scam email that claims to be from MSD being sent to people who have a historic claim of abuse registered with MSD, find out more about these emails here.

Who can make a claim?

We understand that this time can be very unsettling, and that it can be difficult talking about your experience and taking that first step towards the Crown responding to your claim.

You can make a claim of abuse or neglect if you:

  • were in the care, custody, guardianship, or came to the notice of the Child Welfare Division, the Department of Social Welfare, the New Zealand Children and Young Persons Service or Child, Youth and Family before 1 April 2017, and
  • believe you were harmed as a result of abuse or neglect while in care.

We want to make sure the process is as simple as possible for you. We will give you clear information about what happens from the time you first talk with us to the time your claim is settled. We will help with support you may need while going through the process. This could include a counsellor or someone else you feel comfortable with – it’s your choice.

How do I start the claim process?

You can talk to us about making a claim by:

You can also speak with a lawyer to get their assistance to make a claim. They will be able to let you know if you can get legal aid.

What happens when I make a claim?

When you first contact us, we will go through the claims process and answer any questions you have. We will also ask you for some information about yourself and your care experience so that we can make sure you are eligible to register a claim and we have your contact details and preferred method of contact.

We will also help you with support you may need while your claim is happening. It may take quite some time before we are ready to begin your assessment, so it is important that you are supported while you wait.

Questions about your time in care

If you have questions about your time in state care, we can assist with this. For some people, it may be helpful to receive a copy of your personal files from your time in care. This can be requested at any time through the claims process.

Some information in your file may be blocked out as required under the Privacy Act 2020, for example private information about other people.

You can also talk to us if you have any questions about your file.

Understanding your assessment options

When your claim is ready to be worked on, a staff member will make contact with you to discuss your assessment options. There are two types of assessment that you can choose from; a rapid payment or an individualised assessment.

Rapid payment offers can be calculated more quickly as the assessment focuses on the length of involvement you have had with Child, Youth and Family or its predecessor agencies, rather than considering your specific concerns.

An individualised assessment will consider your specific concerns and care experience including reviewing your state care files. This will take longer to complete.

Understanding your story

A key part of our claims process is giving people the opportunity to share their care story with us. This is needed if you choose an individualised assessment so that we can understand the concerns you would like us to consider. Though for those who request a rapid payment, you will have a choice about whether you share your specific concerns with us.

For anyone who wishes to share their story, we will listen to you about your experience. This might be in person, by phone, video or you might like to share your experience in writing. Any meeting held will be at a time and place which works for you and will be respectful of your culture and values. You are welcome to have a support person with you. This could be, for example, your partner, friend, family or whānau member or counsellor.

The assessment

Rapid payments are primarily calculated by considering how long a person has been involved with Child, Youth and Family and its predecessor agencies. Additional payments are then added to claims which include particular placements where it is known more serious abuse occurred or where a person’s legal rights may have been potentially breached. Payments range from $10,000 to $30,000.

For individualised assessments, the assessment will begin by confirming your involvement with the State, including if the State was legally responsible for you at the times your claim covers. It will then consider your specific concerns.

As part of this assessment, we always review your personal state care files. A full review of other relevant records is not carried out for every concern you raise; however some concerns may require a more detailed assessment.


When the assessment is finished, we will make contact with you to discuss the outcome which may include making a payment offer. If you have chosen an individualised assessment, we will also give you general feedback gathered from reviewing your file and may provide a timeline of your time in state care.

You can take time to think about any payment offer and choose if you want to accept it or not. You may choose to seek legal advice.

Our Chief Executive may also want to provide a written apology to you.

If your offer includes a payment, we will arrange for this to be made and close your claim.

Offer not accepted

If you don’t accept our offer, we will talk to you about what other options are available, including asking for a review of your individualised assessment. If you haven’t received a rapid payment offer, you may also be able to request one.

We will talk with you about this and how long it may take.

You may also choose to seek legal advice.


If your offer is reviewed, we will go through our decision with you once the review is finished. There may also be further information found during the review of your files we can give you.

As part of this meeting, we may discuss with you a payment offer.

This payment could be higher or lower than any original offer.

Again, you should take time to think about this offer and choose to either accept it or take your claim through the courts, or to an independent organisation such as the Ombudsman.

Limitation Act

Making a claim through MSD doesn't affect your right to take your case to court. We have also developed a policy with other historic abuse Crown agencies (the Ministry of Education and Oranga Tamariki) to help protect your right to go to court from the effects of the Limitation Act 1950 and the Limitation Act 2010 while you are engaging with MSD's Historic Claims process. This legislation can provide a legal defence to a claim if certain periods of time have passed since the events that the claim is about.

You can stop the counting of time for limitation purposes by filing your claim in Court. However, while you are engaging with MSD's Historic Claims process, our policy means that this time is not counted for the purposes of calculating timeframes under limitation law. This means that you will not be disadvantaged if you try and resolve your claim directly with MSD before filing your claim in Court. If you have any questions about the policy, we recommend that you seek legal advice.

Criminal investigations

If your complaint is about criminal conduct then the Ministry may, after making sure we are legally able to, share information about the alleged offending with the Police. If you would like the Police to investigate what happened to you, we would encourage you to contact them. We will help connect you with someone there you can share your experience with.

What will you do with the information I share with you?

The information you give us is collected and held by the Ministry so we can assess and respond to your claim of abuse while in the care of the state before 1 April 2017. As part of the assessment process we may share your information or make contact with other government agencies or Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) who were involved in your care.

We may also need to share your concerns with Oranga Tamariki or an NGO if your concerns relate to a current staff member employed by one of those organisations. We want to ensure children receiving care in services today are kept safe.

If you have any concerns about your information being shared, for example if you are concerned that this may put you at risk in any way, please let us know so we can talk with you about this and what we can do to address your concerns.

Our Privacy factsheet "Your information is important" provides you with more information about why we collect information and what we will do with it.

You can find our

Can I stop my claim at any time?

You can put the assessment of your claim on hold at any time. This means we will not do any further work to progress your claim. This hold can be removed at any point if you change your mind.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions

The Royal Commission is investigating a wide range of issues associated with abuse in care, including both the state and faith-based systems, and has held a number of hearings, with more to come. A key part of the Royal Commission’s work is its investigation into redress from state agencies and faith-based institutions in response to claims of abuse in care.

A State Redress Hearing was held in two sessions (September to November 2020) with evidence being heard from survivors of abuse and witnesses for the Crown. As part of the hearing, the Royal Commission asked us to provide a large number of supporting documents.

The Royal Commission also had a Faith-Based Redress Hearing in late 2020 and early 2021 which focused on the redress processes of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Salvation Army.

The Royal Commission’s Redress Report, He Purapura Ora, he Māra Tipu, was released publicly on 15 December 2021. The report includes findings about previous state and faith-based institutions’ approach to redress and makes 95 wide-ranging recommendations aimed at creating a new redress system.

On 9 August 2022, the Government announced that work was underway on three immediate projects in response to the Royal Commission’s Redress Report. These were rapid payments and a listening service for claimants, and provision to survivors of records of their time in care. The aim of the projects is to improve support for survivors of abuse in care while a new independent redress system is being designed.

The Royal Commission’s Interim Report, which provided a progress report, an analysis of the size of the care cohorts for State and faith-based care, and some interim findings, was released publicly on 16 December 2020.

The Inquiry is looking into how claims are resolved, which is resulting in recommendations for improvements.

You can proceed with a claim against the Ministry while also taking part in the Royal Commission process. You do not have to put your Ministry claim on hold while the Royal Commission is sitting.

Sharing information with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions

As part of our commitment to supporting the Royal Commission of Inquiry we are legally required under section 20 of the Inquiries Act 2013 to share information with them when we are asked. To prepare for its hearing on state redress for historic abuse claimants, and for ongoing investigation, the Royal Commission has requested a number of documents from us, some of which may include details about claimants, their claims and settlements. We expect that the Royal Commission will continue to request information for the remainder of their Inquiry, which may continue to include information of this nature.

Protecting your privacy

The Royal Commission shares our commitment to protecting people’s privacy throughout the Inquiry’s proceedings. It has issued a legal order stopping public access to any of these documents without its permission, including any personal information that may be in them. This does not mean the Inquiry will not use this information to do the work required by its Terms of Reference, but if it does it will carefully balance public interest against the protection of an individual’s privacy. We would prefer that personal information is only released with the consent of the individual named. Refer here to view the Royal Commission’s privacy policy.

Q&As on sharing information with the Royal Commission of Inquiry

Q. Can I get hold of any information about me that’s in these documents, and how do I do that?

A. Yes – you have the right under the Privacy Act to see any personal information we hold about you. You cannot get the information from the Royal Commission – however you can make requests under the Privacy Act by getting in touch with the Historic Claims team on 0800 631 127, by email or writing to us at PO Box 1556, Wellington 6140. Requests can also be made through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, in writing to PO Box 10-094, Wellington 6143, by email or on their website

Q. How do I know that my information will be protected?

A. The Royal Commission shares our commitment to protecting people’s privacy throughout the Inquiry’s proceedings. It has issued a legal order stopping public access to any of these documents without its permission, including any personal information that may be in them.

Q. Why didn’t Historic Claims ask my permission before passing on my information?

A. Government agencies are legally required to pass on any information they hold if asked by the Royal Commission. With the large volume of information requested and the tight timeframes for responding, it was not possible to let individuals know about the request and what information we were passing on.

Q. I work for a non-government organisation. Can I obtain any information about my NGO that’s in these documents?

A. If you work for a non-profit organisation you have the right under the Official Information Act to request any of your information held by government agencies. You can get this information by making an Official Information Act request. You can make a request to us at The request cannot be sent to the Royal Commission.

Q. What types of personal information have been provided to the Royal Commission?

A. Some of the documents may include personal information about claimants, caregivers, staff and others involved in allegations of abuse by the State and subsequent claims processes. As outlined above, steps have been taken to ensure your personal information remains secure.

Q. Do the files include information or allegations about current or former staff or caregivers?

A. As the Royal Commission’s focus is on understanding people's experiences and their interactions with agencies, some information about current or former staff or caregivers is included in the material provided to the Royal Commission. Staff are encouraged to contact the MSD Response team at if they have any questions.

We are committed to getting this right

We want to make sure that anyone who makes a claim with us gets the best possible service.We will be continuously looking at how we can make the process work better for everyone.

Possible scam email warning

We've been made aware of a possible scam email that claims to be from MSD asking for recipients' bank account details for those who have a historic claim of abuse registered with MSD.

Our IT team is currently looking into this to understand what has occurred. We are keen to hear from anyone who may have received an email of this nature or have information that might assist our inquiries.

Historic Claims would never send you an unsolicited email requesting details of your bank account without first talking to you.

If you receive any email seeking bank account details without first hearing from MSD, please forward a copy of it to If you have any questions, you can also call us on 0800 631 127. Please do not respond to the email address or provide any banking information.

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Making a claim for abuse or neglect in state care

Handbook - MSD Historic Claims Business Process and Guidance

May 2023

Rapid Payments Fact Sheet

Historic Claims Practice Guidance

Nov 2021

Historic Claims privacy fact sheet - Your information is important

Dec 2022

Privacy Statement Historic Claims

Jul 2020

Q&A: Transferring responsibility of claims from Oranga Tamariki to MSD’s Historic Claims team

Oct 2019

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