Families must ‘pay attention’ to child safety

Manawatu Standard 02/09/2009

Families need to think carefully about who they put in charge of their children, Children’s Commissioner John Angus says. Although he could not speak specifically about the recent death of 3-year-old Cash McKinnon and the 21-year-old man charged with her murder, New Zealand child homicide rates were “too high” at about eight each year.

“I think it certainly is an issue … It is disturbing, the number of serious injuries and deaths of toddlers over the recent weeks.” Things needed to change, Mr Angus said. “How fair is it to leave toddlers in the charge of young people … often young men who have enough difficulties controlling their own lives, who are really unprepared and not in a good space to deal with the frustration of looking after children.” Those with a history of violence, alcohol and drug abuse and anger management issues often became perpetrators of child homicide. Over the last decade, the numbers of children dying as a result of non-accidental injuries and assault had gone down, he said. In the 2000-2006 period, there was an average of eight child homicides a year. In the 90s it was 10.