Kaufman Report

Department of Justice  


I end this Report where it began. Central to the Government's response to reported institutional abuse was a Compensation Program. It was seriously flawed. So flawed that it left in its wake true victims of abuse who are now assumed by many to have defrauded the Government, innocent employees who have been branded as abusers, and a public confused and unenlightened about the extent to which young people were or were not abused while in the care of the Province of Nova Scotia.

I was to determine whether the Government response was appropriate, fair and reasonable. The simple answer is that it was not. It was commendable that the Government was concerned about the plight of abuse victims and understood its obligation to rectify past wrongs and prevent future wrongs. However, it lost sight of its obligation to its own former and current employees. And fairness became yet another victim. And so did the credibility of the Program itself.

As Government recognized - albeit imperfectly - the flaws in its own Program, some changes were introduced. But the changes did not rectify the basic unfairness of the Program and, ironically enough, were at times unfair to those whom the Program was designed to help - the true victims of abuse.

It would be all too easy to find malevolence in a Government response so flawed. No doubt, some affected parties have formed their own conclusions in this regard. But every tragedy does not have a villain. The issues that confronted the Government were not always free from difficulty. Nor was every Government official committed to, or equally responsible for, this flawed Program. The challenge here is to learn from the mistakes made and to avoid their repetition.

I have crafted 105 recommendations - a 'Blueprint for the Future.' This is somewhat of a misnomer, since there is no single blueprint that should dictate how Government should or can respond to reports of institutional abuse. However, I am hopeful that the concerns that motivate my recommendations may find expression in the approaches taken by this and other governments in the future.