Police assign extra 25 officers to child abuse teams as cases stream in
Stuff co.nz 24 November 2015
Child abuse complaints are streaming in so fast police are opening new investigations at a rate of one every hour. Talia Shadwell reports as part of the Faces of Innocents series.
Figures released under the Official Information Act show police are opening 32 child protection cases a day – but a top cop says they are coping with the demand.
By August 24 this year 187 cases nationwide had not been assigned to an investigator and 13 detectives currently had 5 or more investigations on their plate.
Lower North Island Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson said investigators were coping with their workload.
“We believe they are. This is something that police take extremely seriously. Anything around child protection and adult sexual assault is at the top of the tree for us in terms of investigation and prevention. We look at these numbers on a weekly basis and we move staff around.”
He said cases awaiting assignment were not being ignored – usually it meant police were at the stage where they were planning with Child, Youth and Family (CYF) and the victim’s relatives on what action to take.
It was unknown how many of the 11,616 cases were solved – because crime statistics were not recorded in a way that made it possible to determine child abuse resolution rates specifically, police said.
Child Matters advocacy group chief executive Anthea Simcock said the increased numbers should be interpreted as positive as child abuse had always been there – but now more people were reporting it.