Abusive mums may be tracked through life

NZ Herald Mar 3, 2010 

A panel of experts has recommended an alert system for all abusive mothers so officials know when they have more children. The Experts Forum on Child Abuse report, due to be released today, said it was concerned that in some serious cases officials did not know when a further child was born into the same family. It recommended cases remain open indefinitely so an automatic flag rose when a mother had another baby, to alert health professionals about the family history of abuse.

At present cases are closed when a child has died from child abuse or been removed by social services so the family were no longer being monitored. The change would mean a mother was effectively tracked throughout her life and if she changed partners. It could lead to a repeat of cases such as that of Chris Kahui, who was questioned by Child, Youth and Family staff at the bedside while his partner gave birth to a daughter last year.