19 Feb 2015

Abuse claim backlog will be cleared - Govt

12:15 pm on 19 February 2015

The Government says a new process will help clear the backlog of unresolved historical abuse claims made by people who were in state care.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said the speeded-up process will involve similar cases being grouped, and resolved, together.

Last week, the head of the organisation set up to listen to victims, Judge Carolyn Henwood, said she was concerned at the lengthy delays in settling claims.

The Social Development Ministry's chief analyst for historical claims, Garth Young, said 1100 were outstanding - and last year a record 120 were resolved.

And Ms Tolley said she was confident all historical claims will be settled by 2020, once the new process is announced in a couple of months.

But the lawyer representing more than half of the claimants, Sonja Cooper, said she had worked with the ministry on the process and told officials in October that it would not work.

Ms Cooper said the ministry is underfunded, and if the process goes ahead, many claimants will not be paid what they are entitled to.