Archive for the ‘Some child abuse cases in NZ – since Section 59 amended’ Category

Another child dies

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

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News, views and politics

Another child dies

When is it going to end? Story here TV clip here. Sue Bradford too busy posting pics of protests on Facebook to comment.

An interview of the neighbour will be on TV3 news tonight.

Cash McKinnon knew violence before her birth

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Cash McKinnon knew violence before her birth

Mother beaten while pregnant, forced into hiding

By MICHAEL CUMMINGS – The Manawatu Standard

GRIEVING: Children clutched flowers and pink butterflies as they helped lay little Cash McKinnon to rest yesterday. It was a sunny, still day, as more than 200 friends and whanau from throughout New Zealand gathered at Poupatate Marae, near Halcombe, to farewell the 3-year-old who died from non-accidental head injuries on Thursday.

GRIEVING: It was a sunny, still day, as more than 200 friends and whanau from throughout New Zealand gathered at Poupatate Marae to farewell Cash McKinnon who died from non-accidental head injuries on Thursday.

Cash McKinnon had known violence since before she was born.

The death last week of the 3-year-old Palmerston North girl sparked a homicide investigation after an autopsy revealed she died from non-accidental head injuries.

Last week was not the first time little Cash experienced violence.

The Manawatu Standard can reveal that Cash’s father, Nikki Douglas, physically abused her mother Ngamiri McKinnon even when she was pregnant with their child.

Mr Douglas’ regular beatings of Cash’s mother eventually led to Ms McKinnon’s stepfather, Reginald Ian Pullen, stabbing him several times in the head, body and arm in retribution in February 2007.

Ms McKinnon’s family had put her and Cash in a safe house to escape the abuse, but Pullen told police Mr Douglas began harassing the family in an effort to find her, and even moved into a house across the street from Pullen and his partner.

In a recorded interview with police the night of the stabbing, Pullen said Mr Douglas used his stepdaughter “like a punching bag”, even when she was pregnant.

Pullen was charged and Mr Douglas gave evidence against him at a depositions hearing.

He admitted beating Ms McKinnon. “We’ve had fist fights … I’ve slapped her face a few times, yeah.”

Asked by Pullen’s lawyer if he’d beaten his partner while she was pregnant, he said “I don’t know, you’d have to look that up … I don’t know”.

The lawyer asked Mr Douglas why Pullen stabbed him. Mr Douglas said “if I put myself in his shoes”, Pullen would want to do whatever it took to make his daughter happy.

“Kids are something to fight for, women aren’t. They’re just everyday things, like undies.”

Pullen pleaded guilty before his trial and was sentenced to more than three years’ jail.

Cash was found unconscious with critical head injuries at a Hulme St house about 1.20pm last Wednesday.

She died in Palmerston North Hospital just before noon the following day, with her family at her bedside. Her funeral was held yesterday at Poupatate Marae, in Tokorangi.

Ms McKinnon’s new partner, a 21-year-old man, was the only adult at the house at the time Cash is thought to have received her injuries. The man, who the Standard has chosen not to name, was looking after Cash and three other children aged 2, 4 and 6.

He lived with Ms McKinnon at the house, but they don’t have any children together. Police would not comment on the man’s involvement.

Detective Sergeant Simon Harrison yesterday said the scene examination of the Hulme St house and inquiries in the area had been completed.

No arrests had been made, but more interviews would be done this week, Mr Harrison said.


We need to target REAL child abuse, not REAL parents.

Who can protect our children?

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Who can protect our children?

4:00AM Sunday Aug 16, 2009
By David Fisher

Our state services fail to protect some of New Zealand’s most severely abused children and allow them to be “revictimised”, according to research published in an international medical journal.

It says the child protection system could be seen as a “poorly controlled experiment” through the inability of government agencies to work together on cases of child abuse.

It follows two cases of alleged child abuse last week in Northland, one of which ended in the death of a 2-year-old. The child in the other case – a 17-month-old – was severely injured.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett met the families of the two children on Friday. “Protecting our most vulnerable children is of the highest priority to this Government,” she said afterwards.

Bennett will this week announce the reintroduction of the Never Shake A Baby Campaign.

“We are also progressing a plan on how agencies will better work together to ensure an abused child is protected if they have been hospitalised,” she said.

New figures from Starship hospital show the number of children under two with “inflicted traumatic brain injury” has risen sharply over a 20-year study period. They show that in 1988 one child was admitted with an inflicted head injury. Numbers peaked at 13 in 2006 and most recently at 11 children last year.

The report, published in the Child Abuse & Neglect International Journal, was written by two Starship doctors Patrick Kelly and Judith MacCormick, and an Auckland health board social worker Rebecca Strange, who works with child abuse victims.

It studies the fate of 39 children aged under two who were treated at Auckland Hospital for “shaken baby syndrome” during the 1990s. It follows their health and development for up to 17 years.

The “syndrome” has become a term for traumatic brain injury in infants. One of its common causes is hard, physical shaking of the child.

Most of the children are referred to in the report as “survivors” – six died in hospital and two others have died since, one 15-months later after complications from the original head injury. They were also mainly Maori – a staggering 77 per cent of the 39 children admitted to hospital.

By December 2007, the children had grown older – they ranged from nine years to 21 – and concerns about repeat abuse had been raised in 44 per cent of cases. This was a “major concern”, the report said.

It is particularly critical of the former Child Youth and Family service, now part of the Ministry of Social Development. Investigations of “doubtful quality” by CYF meant reports to the agency of fresh abuse against children – even in front of witnesses – would be treated as unproven, when they likely indicated serious risk.

While the report found CYF had records in all cases, it also found two of the child deaths were never referred to police. And it highlighted a death where a CYF worker rejected medical evidence of abuse to accept the caregiver’s explanation that the child had choked on a piece of bread.

None of the surviving children was killed or suffered further brain injury from future abuse, possibly due to involvement by state agencies.

But the authors said the high number who were again seen by agencies was a “major concern” when the object of intervention was not only to prevent death but to keep children safe.

Sometimes the agencies were called in afresh to deal with cases of neglect and failing to meet a child’s needs – the tragic consequence of extended family trying to cope with a child who has suffered brain damage from earlier abuse.

Kelly says New Zealand has seen a steady 20-year climb in the number of children being admitted to hospital with head injuries caused by abuse.

Having two “fatal or near-fatal” admissions in a week was unusual but Starship normally had several children at any time being treated for serious abuse injuries.

“Children die, children suffer serious damage, and sometimes it is the result of a few seconds of uncontrollable rage,” he said.

No one from CYF would be interviewed but in a statement, deputy chief executive Ray Smith said the service had improved.

“Can we do more? Absolutely – and I’m committed to finding new and better ways to keep children and young people safe.”

High hopes for baby scheme
Every new parent in the Auckland area will be spoken to about the dangers of shaking babies in a new government-funded trial.

Dr Patrick Kelly, a paediatrician at Starship children’s hospital, said there were great hopes the programme would save lives. In it parents will be spoken to “in the first few days after [the birth] to talk about the dangers of shaking a baby”.

They would then have to sign a sheet of paper acknowledging the discussion and the ways to avoid abuse.

If successful, the pilot scheme may be rolled out across the country. In the United States it has resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in abuse.

Health professionals at Starship hope to have it running by the end of this year.

The Shaken Baby Prevention Programme is being funded by the Ministry of Social Development, and is based on a programme developed by US professor Mark Dias.

Kelly said the programme was suited to New Zealand’s independent midwife network. The trial was awaiting the appointment of key staff and development of material such as a video.

Read full report

Call for Urgent Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

12 August 2009
Call for Urgent Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse
Family First NZ is repeating its call for an official inquiry into the unacceptable levels of child abuse in NZ. The call comes after the death of a 2-year old child in Kaitaia, the investigation into the critical injuries suffered by a Whangarei toddler, and an admission by police of “unacceptable” delays and insufficient investigation into child abuse cases – especially in the Wairarapa.
“The 80% plus of NZ’ers who oppose the anti-smacking law are not people who are demanding the right to ‘assault’ and ‘beat’ children,” says Bob McCoskrie of Family First. “They are simply kiwis who are exasperated with the fact that politicians and supposed family welfare groups are more interested in targeting good parents than tackling the tougher issues of family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, violence in our media, poverty and stress, and weak family ties.”
“The anti-smacking bill has been a spectacular failure because it has failed to identify and target the real issues.
It was simply about a political agenda rather than practical solutions.”
“Since the passing of the anti-smacking law, there has been a continual stream of child abuse cases and the rate of child abuse deaths has continued at the same rate as before the new law with 14 deaths since the law was passed,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“These latest cases are yet another wake-up call that children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse.”
“An independent Inquiry free of political correctness and agendas would be an important first step,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Since Anti-smacking law was passed

1. 16 month old Sachin Dhani June 2007
2. 28-year-old woman charged with murdering a newborn baby found dead in the backyard of a Te Mome Road property in Alicetown – June 2007
3. 22-month-old Tyla-Maree Darryl Flynn June 2007
4. 3 year old Nia Glassie July 2007
5. Ten-month-old Jyniah Mary Te Awa September 2007 Manurewa
6. Two-month-old Tahani Mahomed December 2007 Otahuhu
7. 3 year old Dylan Hohepa Tonga Rimoni April 2008 Drury
8. A 27-year-old Dunedin mother of five admitted infanticide. On May 26 she lost control, banged the baby’s head repeatedly against the couch, choked her, then threw her on the bed and covered her with a blanket. May 2008
9. 7-year-old Duwayne Toetu Taote Pailegutu. July 2008
10. 16-month old Riley Justin Osborne (Kerikeri) boy Dec 2008
11. Three-year-old Cherish Tahuri-Wright (Marton) Feb 2009
12. Five-week-old Jayrhis Ian Te Koha Lock-Tata (Taupo) Mar 2009
13. One-year-old Trent James Matthews – aka Michael Matthews Jun 2009
14. Two-year-old Jacqui Peterson-Davis Kaitaia Aug 09

For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

Police investigate Kaitaia child’s death

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Police have begun a homicide inquiry into the death of a two-year-old Northland girl, with a post mortem expected to confirm the cause of death tomorrow.

A 32-year-old woman has been charged with assault and is in police custody, awaiting an appearance in the Auckland District Court tomorrow morning.

Police said it was too early to say whether further charges were likely.

The toddler was taken to Kaitaia Hospital with serious injuries about 4.30am on Saturday.

She was flown to Auckland’s Starship Hospital, where she died at 11am.

Police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said hospital staff had contacted police shortly after the girl’s arrival.

She said police were not releasing details, such as the child’s relationship to the accused or whether she had any siblings.

Investigators were today conducting an examination of the toddler’s home in Miro Place, Kaitaia.

Senior Sergeant Geoff Ryan said police had spoken to family members, who had been co-operative.

“We will continue to conduct inquiries with the immediate family in an attempt to piece together exactly what has occurred.

“There are still a significant number of friends and family to be spoken to in getting a detailed background picture of the environment the deceased and her family lived in.

“This is a tragic time for the family and we will be respecting the need for the family to have time to cope with what has happened.”

Mother in court over baby’s death

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

A woman appeared in the Rotorua District Court today charged with the manslaughter of a one-year-old baby.

Sasha Pene, 29, was accused of assaulting Trent Matthews, who was later found dead, at an Edmund Rd house in Rotorua, where he lived with Pene and her partner Joe Matthews, in June.

Pene entered no plea to charges of assaulting the baby, injuring the baby with intent to injure him and his manslaughter.

Judge James Weir remanded her on bail for a committal hearing on August 27.

Motueka mother jailed

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Another Child abuse case since Section 59 amended:

Motueka mother jailed

The Nelson Mail

Last updated 13:12 22/07/2009

A 22-year-old Motueka mother who shook her four-month-old baby, leaving the child with severe brain damage, has been sent to jail for three years and nine months.

Cassandra Albert pleaded guilty at a depositions hearing in May to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm to the baby with reckless disregard for his safety.

She was sentenced in the Nelson District Court this morning.

Albert’s 31-year-old partner Newton Samuel Moki was also sentenced to 22 months jail today.

The court heard the couple’s son suffered serious non-accidental injuries including permanent brain damage over Labour Weekend last year.

Moki and Albert were jointly charged with failing to provide the necessities of life for the boy after they failed to get help for him for nine hours, despite him suffering seizures and sweating uncontrollably.

More serious charges against the couple of wounding the baby with intent were dropped in May.

Moki was sentenced to a total of 22 months in jail on the failing to provide the necessities of life and an unrelated charge of driving with excess breath alcohol. It was Moki’s seventh drink-driving charge.

Woman arrested after baby assaulted

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Woman arrested after baby assaulted

A South Auckland woman has been arrested following an alleged assault on a five-month old baby last night.

Police say they were called to a domestic at an address in Mangere at about 11.30pm.

They say an ambulance was called as a baby had been assaulted.

Police say a 28-year old female has been charged with assaulting a child and will appear in the Counties Manukau District court today.

They say they are not seeking anyone else in relation to the matter.

Infant to be buried today

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Child Abuse Death Rate Is Killing Us

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009


11 March 2009

Child Abuse Death Rate Is Killing Us

Family First NZ says that the police announcement of a homicide investigation into the death of Taupo five-week-old Jayrhis Ian Te Koha Lock-Tata is a tragic reminder that the rate of child abuse deaths has continued at the same rate as before the flawed anti-smacking law and we are failing to identify and tackle the real causes.

“While good families are being investigated and thrown under suspicion because of the extremist anti-smacking law, child abuse has continued at the same rate and the same old underlying issues of drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown and dysfunction, the presence of non-biological adults in the house, low maternal age, poverty and single parenthood continue to be downplayed,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Before Bradford’s anti-smacking law was passed, there were an average of 7 child abuse deaths per year since 2000. Since the anti-smacking law was passed 20 months ago, there has been 12 child abuse deaths.”

The ‘roll of horror’ of child abuse deaths includes 2 year old Jhia Te Tua, 16 month old Sachin Dhani, 22-month-old Tyla-Maree Flynn, 3 year old Nia Glassie, Ten-month-old Jyniah Te Awa, Two-month-old Tahani Mahomed, 3 year old Dylan Rimoni, 7-year-old Duwayne Pailegutu, 16-month-old Riley Osborne, 3-year-old Cherish Tahuri-Wright, and now little Jayrhis.

“NZ’ers are sick of our leaders ‘fluffing’ around the real issues of child abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First has a 5 point Action plan to tackle child abuse –


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42