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Investigation Into Safety Of Children In Hospital

Monday, December 13, 2004

Media release

Children's Commissioner launches investigation into the safety of children in hospital

The Office of the Children's Commissioner is launching an investigation into the safety of children who have been hospitalised with injuries and where there have been allegations of abuse.

Children's Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro says the investigation follows two recent incidents where hospitalised children are alleged to have been assaulted by family members.

Dr Kiro says the investigation will determine what protocols are in place between District Health Boards, CYF and Police to ensure hospitalised children are safe following allegations of abuse.

Dr Kiro says it is important to clarify the roles and responsibilities of each organisation in relation to the safety and well being of the child at this time.

"We need to clarify which organisation has legal responsibility for a hospitalised child's safety when there are allegations of abuse."

The review will include an analysis of current protocols in place in each DHB, a review of overseas procedures to protect children in hospital and an analysis of best practice models (national and international). Guidelines, which use examples of best practice, will be identified, so DHBs can implement protocols in their hospitals.

In addition the investigation will review the two recent cases to determine what took place, the effectiveness of protocols between CYF, the DHBs and Police at that time, and any changes that have been implemented since the incidents.

Dr Kiro says a report on the findings of the investigation will be provided to CYF, DHBs and Police. The report is due for completion in May 2005.

ENDS

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