Dom Post 2 Feb 2013
More than 150,000 cases of child abuse were reported last year and it’s schools that are increasingly raising the alarm. Principals said the spike in abuse and neglect had resulted in increased skin diseases such as scabies, and aggressive and violent children in the classroom. Social workers in schools are heavily relied on and at Cannons Creek Primary School the public health nurse is busier than ever. Principal Ruth O’Neill said children living in poverty and neglect had led to a rise in skin problems.
Last year 9447 notifications were made by teachers and social workers in schools out of a total 152,800 notifications to CYF. More than 61,000 of those required follow-up. Overall notifications increased by 1 per cent from 2011 but those that came from schools were up by 1332. At Masterton’s Lakeview School, it’s aggressive, violent and angry children that principal Ed Hodgkinson worries about most. “These children see it and live with it and often bring it to school.” Two families a year used to be normal for Waitara Central Primary School principal Sharren Read to refer to CYF. “In the last 18 months it’s been more like two or three a term.”