The Labour-led government has promised to set up an inquiry and groups of survivors want its scope broadened.
They are being backed by psychologist Michelle Mulvihill, who was a consultant to Australia’s royal commission on institutional sex abuse.
Dr Mulvihill spent nine years consulting around child sex abuse cases at the St John of God Brothers, which included a New Zealand case in Canterbury where there were 76 victims at the hands of two priests.
She said the Australian commission found the majority of children sexually assaulted were abused in faith-based institutions so they should be included in New Zealand’s inquiry.
She said if it did not happen, only half the story would be told.
“These victims of faith-based organisations need to be seen in a context and the context is wider than the discussion about whether they’re the same or different to those people in the state-based institutions. It’s criticially important to their well-being.”
Dr Mulvihill said the men she had met were in dire straits.
“They’re not people who are searching about for money, they’re people who want to be recognised and acknowledged properly.”
Darryl Smith – who attended Marylands School in Christchurch in the early 1970s – said he was raped and abused from the age of six.
He said an independent inquiry into the abuse he endured while in the care of the Catholic Church was vital for his ongoing recovery and healing.
The Minister for Children, Tracey Martin, said no decisions had yet been made about the scope and detail of the inquiry.
* The Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org