Reliable child abuse measure vital for NZ

Sunday Star Times 1 July 2012
New Zealand’s child abuse record is brutally laid bare in one of the most comprehensive releases of Government data on the nation’s bruised and broken children. There are 22,000 substantiated child abuse cases each year, resulting in around 1000 prosecutions and 128 recorded hospital admissions. One expert says child abuse rates are not falling and it’s time we developed reliable measures to quantify the horrific harm suffered by children. The child abuse rates, prosecutions and hospital admission figures – released under the Official Information Act – highlight stark differences in reporting. A number of hospitals are failing to record suspected rates of child abuse, while other hospitals have been accused of pointing the finger at innocent parents.

..CYF figures show a sharp increase in child abuse, from 19,596 to 22,087 in the past three years. There were 1126 cases of substantiated sexual abuse in 2009, jumping to 3225 in 2011. About half of all abuse is classified as emotional.

Substantiated abuse         2009     2010     2011
Emotional                         10,938    12,532   12,595
Physical                              2,855      2,884     3,225
Sexual                                 1,126      1,201     1,501
Neglect                               4,677      4,403     4,762
Total                              19,596   21.020   22,087

Child abuse convictions   2009       2010       2011
                                              838        963       1055