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. For more information, see the chapter “Legal Aid and other legal help” .

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 at

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 at

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 free initial legal advice and information.

Oranga Tamariki / Ministry for Children

Oranga Tamariki / Ministry for Children replaced Child, Youth and Family in April 2017. Its website has a range of information about the care and protection issues discussed in this chapter.

Phone: 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459)

Family Court

The Family Court website has a wide variety of pamphlets and other information on issues relating to children. Access pamphlets online or order hard copies:

Phone: 0800 587 847


Barnardos delivers a range of child and family services and early childhood care and education services throughout New Zealand. Barnardos also produces a range of fact sheets about children, parenting, child abuse and neglect, and school and family matters. For more information contact:

Phone: 0800 BARNARDOS (0800 227 627)

Children’s Commissioner

Contact the Office of the Children’s Commissioner:

Phone: 0800 224 453

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.

VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai

This is a non-government advocacy service for children and young people in state care. Set up in April 2017, “VOYCE” stands for “Voice of the Young and Care Experienced”.

Youthline Aotearoa

Phone: 0800 37 66 33
Free text: 234

Youthline provides free counselling, information and referral services.

Women’s Refuge

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

Crisis Line

Phone: 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843)

Women’s Refuge provides a free phone line for people anywhere in New Zealand. Get information, advice and support about family violence as well as help in a crisis.


A range of resources and fact sheets are available online.

Phone: (04) 802 5078

Office of the Ombudsman

Free phone: 0800 802 602


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