NZ ‘doing bugger all’ to fix one of worst child abuse rates in world, says doctor

NZ Herald 21 March 2016
Family First Comment: And nothing will change until we look at declining marriage rates, family structure and breakdown, and get real tough on drug and alcohol abuse. That would be a good place to start.

New Zealand has one of the worst rates of child abuse in the world and critics say we are doing “bugger all” to fix the problem.

In the last 10 years, despite millions of dollars being spent and various initiatives aimed at tackling the problem, 61 children have died as a result of abuse or non-accidental injuries.

Currently the Government is overhauling Child Youth and Family after an expert panel found the agency was failing vulnerable children.

But as the majority of children killed were not on the Cyf radar when they died, it is unlikely any changes at that level will make a difference.

More needs to be done. Everyone from lawmakers to experts agree. But they disagree on what.

Since the murder of 90-day-old twins Chris and Cru Kahui in 2006, little progress has been made on the abuse front, says a leading paediatrician.

Of the 61 babies and children killed, 31 died at the hands of a parent or caregiver and the majority suffered fatal head injuries or unsurvivable blows to their little bodies.

The most recent was a 2-year-old boy who died at his Manurewa home just before Christmas. Police are investigating and say his death was the result of a non-accidental injury.

“Since the Kahui twins died, to be frank, not a lot has changed,” said Dr Patrick Kelly, who heads the child abuse team at Starship Children’s Hospital.
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61 little names on New Zealand’s roll of dishonour
NZ Herald 21 March 2016
Sixty-one. It’s the number of children who have died as a result of non-accidental injuries in New Zealand in the last 10 years.

Their names are scars on a shameful landscape of child abuse – Chris and Cru Kahui who would have turned 10 today, Nia Glassie, JJ Ruhe-Lawrence, Jyniah Te Awa.

Thirty-one of those young ones were violently assaulted. They were kicked, punched, thrown, stomped or bashed to the point of death.

New Zealand has the fifth worst child abuse record out of 31 OECD countries and on average a child is killed here every five weeks.

In the last half of 2015, Child Youth and Family had recorded 8800 cases of proven child abuse and neglect.

In the same period, the agency received 76,041 “reports of concern” about suspected child abuse or neglect which included 34,226 referrals from police.

Of the initial reports, 22,917 required further action and were investigated.
READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11607959
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