“Cone of silence” around child cruelty must end

Otago Daily Times 10 May 2011

New Zealand has for too long allowed a “cone of silence” to surround cases of cruelty to children, Justice Minister Simon Power told Parliament last night. He was speaking on a bill that will make it an offence for people who live with a child and who know the child is at risk of death, harm or sexual assault to fail to take reasonable steps to protect the child from that risk. “We have to finally face up to the fact that there are a series of continuous tragedies occurring in this country that are going unchecked by this Parliament,” Mr Power said. “This bill says that travesty must stop, that responsibility will lie with those individuals and people who could have done something, or said something, for those who have died or been mistreated.” Mr Power said the message that was coming from the public was straightforward — politicians must stop sitting on their hands when it came to children being abused, mistreated and killed in households where family members and others were not coming forward to speak out about what was happening.