Child abuse referrals to CYF skyrocket

Sunday News 18 Sep 2011
Teachers  are making an average 42 referrals every school day to Child Youth and Family about students they suspect have been abused or neglected. Figures released under the Official Information Act show CYF received 8102 “care and protection” notifications from schools – including early childhood and kohanga centres – from 2009 to 2010. Of those notifications, 75% required further action. Concerns raised by teachers included a wide range of issues, from a pupil regularly turning up without lunch or sleeping in class, to suspected physical or sexual abuse.

A 48-page CYF booklet produced earlier this year for people working with children and young people outlines what child abuse is and the signs people should look for. They included skin disorders, areas of bruising, very aggressive behaviour towards toys, evidence of self harm and inappropriate sexual play. The number of notifications from all sectors and services to CYF have nearly quadrupled over seven years – from 40,000 to around 150,000.