Child abuse on rise

Bay of Plenty Times 7 June 2013
As Waikato’s child abuse statistics rise Child, Youth and Family says it’s well prepared to respond to the demand.

The latest statistics, released in April, show Waikato is on track to top more than 2000 cases of substantiated child abuse for the year ending June 30. The latest findings buck a trend of declining substantiated abuse cases in the Waikato.

The number of substantiated abuse cases has been declining since the 2009 financial year when there were 2391 cases. That number has dropped annually with 1683 in the 2012 financial year.

The half-yearly report documenting substantiated abuse for July-December last year was 1065, putting the region on track to almost eclipse figures from four years ago.

CYF Midlands regional director Greg Versalko isn’t concerned at his organisation’s ability to cope with the increase in abuse cases.

“I would be very concerned if I didn’t think we were prepared to respond to that demand. But I feel we are in a good position in that respect.”

Mr Versalko said it was always difficult to determine the reasons for a spike in the number of substantiated abuse cases. He said it wasn’t necessarily that child abuse was increasing but that there was more discussion in the media which boosted reported cases. He said when there was increased discussion on child abuse, CYF saw an increase in demand for their services.