Government Must Now Release Child Abuse Report

Media Release 4 Nov 2011
Family First NZ is calling for the Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett to release the findings of the independent ministerial inquiry into a horrific West Auckland child abuse case. 

“The excuse for not releasing the report earlier was that the case was still in progress. With the guilty pleas of both parents, the government can now release the report, and they should do so immediately,” saysBob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. 

Family First believes that the report will show 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. 

“The fact that the family of the West Auckland 9-year-old had been involved with CYF, a family support agency, a registered ACC counsellor, a court-appointed psychologist, the child’s court-appointed lawyer and a child and youth mental health service is ample proof that the ‘bottom of the cliff’ approach is not working and is not the key – we must look at the root causes of child abuse. Why is it happening in the first place?” 

“Since the passing of the anti-smacking law, there has been a continual stream of child abuse cases, the rate of child abuse deaths has continued at the same rate as before, and resources have been diverted to chasing parents who use a smack rather than targeting rotten parents with clear evidence of abuse and issues of family breakdown and dysfunction, drug and alcohol abuse issues, poverty and stress, and mental illness.” 

Latest government figures show that Care and Protection notifications have increased by over 20% to almost 151,000 in the past year, and that the number of substantiated abuse/neglect cases within just six months of previous abuse/neglect findings has increased by 40% over the past two years. 

Family First is repeating its call for a Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse, Family Breakdown and Family Violence. 

“Children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse and our response to those tough issues,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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