Family First NZ has released a 5-point Action Plan to tackle the high rates of child abuse in NZ.
“The recent Rotorua case which has shocked the nation, in a similar way to the Kahui case, highlights the need for drastic action in this area,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
The Action Plan includes:
1.establishing a non-political Commission of Inquiry comprising community leaders who are working with at-risk families to identify causes of child abuse and effective solutions, and examining specifically the role of drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, race-based issues and poverty in these high rates.
2.an immediate increase of support and resourcing to grass-root community organisations who are working with at-risk families attempting to stop abuse in the first place – for example HIPPY Foundation, Early Start, Family Help Trust and other early childhood home-based programmes
3.an increased investment in parenting organisations such as Parents Inc and other community based positive parenting programmes.
4.a media-based anti-child abuse campaign, in the same way road safety ‘shock’ campaigns are run, raising the awareness of and encouraging ‘positive’ parenting and identifying what is abuse
5.sentencing for those who abuse and kill our children to be substantially increased to provide both a deterrent and a clear message of our community’s disgust with the actions of people who abuse children.
“Desparate times call for desparate actions,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The Children’s Commissioner denies the need for an Inquiry yet the best she can offer is a ban on smacks and wasting time and resources ‘auditing’ good families. Meanwhile the horrendous abuse continues.”
“And the politicians, by spending so much time and energy on section 59 have also shown that they are unwilling and unable to deal with real causes of child abuse. Their cross-party committee to tackle child abuse after the Kahui case self-destructed.”
“Child abuse is greater than any political agenda, will require a huge amount of honesty, and must be owned and solved by New Zealanders.”
“Our silence and inaction has been killing us. No more.”