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How much longer can New Zealanders turn a blind eye?

For Immediate Release
21 December 2010

How much longer can New Zealanders turn a blind eye?

Over the weekend we heard of the horrific torture of a nine year old girl. Now it is only Tuesday and we hear of a 5 year old girl whos life has been taken. As yet the details of what this poor child endured before her untimely death has not come to light. But no doubt there are many people who do know at least part of the story.

“What we do know” says Anthea Simcock, CEO of Child Matters, “is that these children do not live in isolation. They are part of a society of people who all have the power to play a part in making sure no child should have to endure this suffering and trauma. Not only do we all have the power, we have the responsibility.”

Already a number of people have come forward and acknowledged that they knew about the terrible situation the 9 year old girl in Waitakere had been enduring for two year. How many more have not come forward? Teachers, neighbours, extended family, family friends, coaches, the list goes on...

How many more people will today be feeling the guilt of not speaking up to save the life of this five year old girl?

“Until New Zealanders stand up and realise that it is not just up to the authorities, but each and every one of us, children will continue to suffer and die at the hands of those who are supposed to be caring for them.” Says Mrs Simcock.

Friends, families and all citizens, have a moral obligation to learn more about what the signs and symptoms of abuse are. Information for people who are worried about a child is available at www.childmatters.org.nz.

Aside from the ‘general public’ there are numerous people in a raft of different roles that are particularly well placed to identify risk factors and signs of potential abuse. These people involved with children need to demand the knowledge required to keep children safe.

It is time that New Zealand as a country stands up and says that enough is enough.

ENDS

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