SMACKING LAW FAIL: NZ's shocking child abuse statistics

Stuff 2 June 2015
A child is admitted to a New Zealand hospital every second day with injuries arising from either assault, neglect or maltreatment, research says.
Nearly half of them are aged under five.
The figures, which are likely under reported, are contained in a 2012 report prepared for the Ministry of Health by the NZ Child and Youth Epidemiology Service.
Officials say child abuse remains a significant problem in New Zealand and a series of changes have been made to try and prevent it from occurring.
They say that there is now a greater emphasis on identifying at risk families before a child is born and putting support measures in place to help them cope.
However, much of the responsibility lies with the public who need to report any warning signs before they escalate.
“It’s very hard for outside agencies to pick up on these things. Close family won’t even know what’s going on,” Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald said.
“It’s about having the guts . . . to front people who aren’t coping and making sure we’re all responsible for looking after these kids.”
According to the report, which was cited by Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills, 843 children aged 0-14, were admitted to hospital from 2007 to 2011 with injuries arising from either assault, neglect or maltreatment.
Their injuries ranged from serious head trauma to broken legs.
Wills said the statistics were likely under reported because national guidelines meant officials had to be certain of an assault before it could be recorded.
Attitudes about violence towards women and children had to change, he said.

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