Abuse cases rise while killings are down

NZ Herald August 09, 2007
Child abuse cases substantiated by Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) have jumped again in the past year, despite evidence that the number of children being killed is now falling. The number of children abused increased by 15.4 per cent to a new record of 10,159 in the financial year to the end of June. Almost half (46 per cent) of the children were Maori, 28 per cent European, 16 per cent Pacific, 3 per cent Asian and 2 per cent from other ethnicities. For the remaining 5 per cent, no ethnicity was given. The increase in substantiated cases was slightly higher than a 13.8 per cent rise in the total number of notifications to CYFS from doctors, teachers, police and members of the public.Notifications have more than doubled in the past four years to a peak of 75,326, reflecting the media focus on horrific cases such as the death of Rotorua 3-year-old Nia Glassie and a campaign to encourage notifications by health workers and others. But many of these were double-ups where different people rang CYFS about the same children, and some complaints were found to be groundless.The number of children for which notifications were found to require further action actually dropped for the second year in a row, from 37,549 to 34,437. But the number of children confirmed abused or neglected following further investigation increased from 14,571 to 16,479, including the 10,159 cases of abuse. The number of children and young people in CYFS’s care fell slightly from 5077 to 5049 – the first drop for at least five years.