Posts Tagged ‘Children’s Commissioner’

YACA Welcomes Latest Report from Children’s Commissioner

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

YACA Welcomes Latest Report from Children’s Commissioner

Media Release
6 June 2009

Youth Against Child Abuse NZ is glad that the latest report from the office of the Children’s Commissioner gets to the heart of the child abuse epidemic in New Zealand.

The report looks at assault against under 5yr olds in the light of recent findings, globally and within New Zealand. It aims to find ways to reduce the rates of abuse and neglect amongst this at-risk demographic.

“Let’s take note of this report and take some serious action,” says YACA NZ spokesperson, Caleb Brown, “The research is there and it is very specific and clear. Now we must act on it”.

The report highlighted that young babies were at most risk of abuse. The Children’s Commissioner, John Angus said that 45 children under 5yrs were seriously injured, with 5 being killed each year.

“The vast majority of NZ youth acknowledge that a parent smacking their child for the purpose of correction is not the equivalent of child abuse. It’s time for us to wake up and focus on what are proven to be the real causes of child abuse in our country.”

“The list of common causes is similar to the ones that UNICEF and CYF have provided us with, and includes drug and alcohol abuse, presence of a non-biological parent, family breakdown and poverty”, he said. “There is no need for further delay. Children are at risk, we know what the issues are, so let’s sort this out”.


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More new babies taken from mothers

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

More new babies taken from mothers

Custody orders have doubled in five years

By REBECCA PALMER – The Dominion Post | Monday, 02 March 2009

Dozens of newborns are being taken from their mothers every year because of fears for their safety.

Child, Youth and Family took 66 at-risk babies less than a month old into its care last year and 15 of them were taken the day they were born.

In more than half of the cases, older brothers and sisters were already in care, figures provided to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act show.

The number of custody orders involving newborns has more than doubled in the past five years. In the 2003-04 year, 32 were taken into state care.

Those taken last year include the newborn daughter of convicted baby-killer Tania Witika, who gave birth in Christchurch. CYF obtained custody when it heard she was pregnant.

The horrific death of Witika’s daughter Delcelia, 2, in 1991 was one of the worst child-abuse cases to go before New Zealand courts. She and her partner at the time were each sentenced to 16 years’ jail for Delcelia’s torture and death.

The rise in newborn custody orders coincides with a doubling in care and protection notifications involving babies still in their mothers’ wombs. Last year Child, Youth and Family received 215 notifications from people worried about the welfare of unborn children, compared with 96 five years earlier.

Nearly half the alerts came from health professionals. Police, family members, courts, schools and others also reported concerns.

Social Development Ministry chief executive Peter Hughes said the agency had been working to create an environment in which abuse and neglect were not tolerated. “In recent years, we have made significant progress in raising awareness of family violence and this is reflected in the increase in the number of notifications.”

He said no child was taken from its parents unless concerns were of “an extreme nature”. They could include history of family violence, mental health problems, addiction, neglect and previous abuse of children. “Removal of children at such a young age is the last resort.”

Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro agreed improved awareness was a big factor behind the increased numbers. “It’s part of a bigger pattern of increasing notifications, particularly off the back of high-profile cases like Nia Glassie.” Nia, 3, died in Auckland’s Starship children’s hospital in 2007, after repeated abuse that included being tumbled in a clothes drier, spun on a clothesline and kicked in the head.

Dr Kiro said the health sector had become more proactive in watching for signs of abuse and reporting them.

She suspected most of the health notifications came from hospitals. Pregnant women who had been abusing alcohol or drugs were more likely to experience complications.

The number of notifications involving unborn children was likely to keep growing, she said.

Paediatric Society president Rosemary Marks, who works at Starship, said most, if not all, district health boards now had a family violence co-ordinator. “We have had a real emphasis on training health professionals to be aware and to ask people about family violence.”

That meant there was an opportunity to help if a pregnant woman said her partner was abusing her. “We can intervene earlier and hopefully interrupt the cycle of violence.”

Another Child Abuse Death – Same Factors

Monday, December 29th, 2008

TRAGIC TOT: 16-month-old Riley Justin Osborne.


28 December 2008

Another Child Abuse Death – Same Factors

Family First NZ says that the tragic child abuse death of 16-month old Northland boy Riley Osborne is more evidence of the key causes of child abuse which we are failing to acknowledge and tackle.

“Report after report from both CYF and UNICEF and international research all confirm that children are most at risk where there is the presence of drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, the presence of non-biological adults in the house, low maternal age, poverty and single parenthood,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.

“This latest case shows a number of factors including drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, welfare dependency and low maternal age.”

“We are missing actual child abuse because politicians and the Children’s Commissioner have confused the issue by treating parents who smack as child abusers, and told us that we should spend all our time and resources targeting them.”

“Despite a 30% increase in CYF notifications in the last twelve months (yet a corresponding decrease in the number of cases requiring further action), the ‘roll of horror’ of child abuse deaths continues with cases including 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, and now little Riley.”

“The rate of child abuse deaths has continued unabated despite the passing of the anti-smacking law.”

“Until we acknowledge drug abuse, our culture of alcohol abuse and the resulting harm, the role that family structure has on the safety of children, and the desparate need for better support and resources for new and especially young parents, we will never see progress in our battle against child abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“It’s time for the country to administer a ‘truth serum’ to the debate on child abuse rather than our ideologically flawed approach which has failed.”


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42