Making historic abuse claims

How to make a claim

To begin the claims process, you can either contact a lawyer or contact the relevant Ministry directly.

Using a lawyer

You do not need a lawyer to go through the historic claims process. However, a lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and let you know if there are any other options you might have, and whether you are receiving the best offer you are likely to receive.

If you decide to instruct a lawyer, you may be entitled to Legal Aid. Your lawyer will let you know if you are entitled to receive Legal Aid and guide you through the process (see: “Legal Aid”).

Making a claim directly, without a lawyer

If you decide not to use a lawyer, you can make a claim directly to the Ministry of Social Development by either:

  • writing to the Ministry of Social Development, Historic Claims, PO Box 1556, Wellington 6140
  • calling 0800 631 127 and asking to speak with a social work advisor in the Historic Claims team
  • emailing

You can find out more about making a claim on the Ministry of Social Development website, here (or go to: and search: “Historic Abuse – Make a claim”).

You can make a claim directly to the Ministry of Education by either:

  • writing to the Ministry of Education, Historic Claims, Sector Enablement and Support, PO Box 1666, Wellington 6104
  • calling 0800 622 222 and select option 4
  • emailing

You can find out more about making a claim on the Ministry of Education website, here (or go to: and search “sensitive claims”).

Next Section | Next steps

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Dealing with Oranga Tamariki / Ministry for Children

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online:

Oranga Tamariki/Ministry for Children

Oranga Tamariki’s website has a range of information about the care and protection issues discussed in this chapter.

Phone: 0508 326 459


Barnardos delivers a range of child, family and education services throughout New Zealand.  Check their website to see what services are available in your area.

Phone: 0800 BARNARDOS (0800 227 627)

Family Court

The Family Court website has information about how a government agency can apply for a Care or Protection Order of a child.

Website: and select “Family” then “Keeping children safe” and “When Oranga Tamariki gets involved”.

VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai

“VOYCE” stands for “Voice of the Young and Care Experienced” and is a non-government advocacy service for children and young people in state care.

Phone: 0800 4VOYCE (0800 486 923)

Youthline Aotearoa

Youthline provides free counselling, information and referral services.

Phone: 0800 BARNARDOS (0800 227 627)
Free text: 234

Women’s Refuge

Women’s Refuge provides 24-hour support, advocacy and accommodation for women and their children experiencing family violence throughout New Zealand.

Crisis line (24/7): 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843)

Children’s Commissioner

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner looks to ensure that children’s rights are respected and upheld. It advocates for the best interests of all children and young people in New Zealand.

Phone: 0800 224 453

Office of the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman handles complaints about Government agencies, such as Oranga Tamariki or the Police.

Phone: 0800 802 602
To make a complaint online: go to the website above and select “get help (for the public)”

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