Another Child Abuse Death – Plea For Royal Commission

Media Release 15 January 2012
Family First NZ says that news of yet another potential child abuse death in Whanganui and the shocking trend of ten other child abuse deaths in the past 17 months is ample evidence of the urgent need for a non-political Commission of Inquiry into child abuse – an independent inquiry completely removed from political parties looking to score points. 

“We have had Commission of Inquiries into the Pike river tragedy, the collapse of buildings and consequent loss of life in the Christchurch earthquake, and previous inquiries into police conduct (2004), genetic modification (2000–2001), and Auckland governance (2007-2009) – yet no inquiry into one of the greatest social problems facing the country. The issue of child abuse deserves a high priority total focus which a Commission would give,” says Bob Mccoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. 

“The recent report into just one horrific abuse case in West Auckland contained clear evidence that the solutions to our horrific child abuse rates lie far deeper than simply providing multiple government funded agencies at the bottom of the cliff.” 

“It’s essential that we identify the root causes of family dysfunction, marriage breakdown, and violence. It’s also essential that we remove political posturing and point-scoring from the process. The response of opposition political parties to the Green Paper on abuse proved this.” 

“The Smith report on the West Auckland case showed shortfalls in collaboration and information sharing between  government-funded agencies, an insufficient response when there were so many ‘red flags’, limited resources, and failings in targeting at-risk families and rotten parents in general. Since the passing of the anti-smacking law, there have been 30 child abuse deaths. The rate continues unabated,” says Mr McCoskrie.

 “The ongoing rates of child abuse are a wake-up call that children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the root causes of child abuse. An independent Inquiry free of political correctness and point-scoring is essential. We need long-term solutions to a problem that has existed for far too long.” 

DEATHS IN THE PAST 17 MONTHS

(Info from police releases and media reports)
1. 6 month old Cezar Taylor Mangere East July 29 2010, The partner of the child’s mother (not father), James Allan Hemana, 30, also known as James Sylva, has been charged with assaulting the baby. 

 2. 3 year old Seini Unaloto Ikamunu North Shore died 6 Dec 2010
Seini Unaloto IKAMANU received a severe head injury at her Beach haven home on 24 March 2010. She died inStarshipHospital yesterday 6 December 2010. A 28 year old man was charged with murder.  

3. Christchurch Newborn
Dec 8 2010
A 27-year-old woman (mother) has been charged with the murder of a newborn baby after an incident inChristchurch overnight. The woman appeared in the Christchurch District Court this morning and was remanded in custody for psychiatric assessment, say police.

4. 5 year old
Sahara Jayde Baker-Koro Hawkes Bay 21 Dec 2010
Kerry Ratana (not the father) 24, has appeared in court charged with the rape and murder of Sahara. 

5. 5 month old Mikara Ranui Jarius Reti, Flaxmere 11 January 2011
A 21-year-old man (not father) has been charged with manslaughter in relation to Mikara’s death.  Trent Owen Ngaruhe Hapuku is accused of the manslaughter of Mikara Ranui Jarius Reti on January 11.

6. 6 month old Serenity Jay Scott-Dinnington. Ngaruawahia 29 April 2011   Nobody has been charged yet for the murder. 

7.  1 week old Baby Afoa Otahuhu June 2, 2011
The baby’s mother, Kulukora Akau’ola, 22, from Otahuhu is facing a charge of murder. Christian Afoa, 29, from Mangere, was charged with disposing of the body to conceal its birth.

 8. Auckland Newborn Ardmore July 18, 2011
The 21-year-old south Auckland woman pleaded guilty in September to one charge of disposing of the dead body of a child

9. One year old Terepo Taura-Griffiths (Popo). Otahuhu 6 Nov 2011
Suffered serious injuries, died. CYF had dealt with the family in the past. 32-year-old woman charged 

10. 2 year old James Joseph Ruhe Lawrence Orakei November 14 2011
Police have revealed that a toddler died after suffering severe damage to his internal organs at an Auckland house. Police charged a 29-year-old Mangere man, a former Orakei resident, with JJ’s murder.
ENDS