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Education and awareness can help decrease child abuse

Media Release
21 September 2011

Child Matters says education and awareness can help decrease cases of child abuse long-term

Hamilton, New Zealand – National child advocacy organisation, Child Matters, is pleased to see a drop in the number of substantiated child abuse cases as reported by Child, Youth and Family (CYF) for the year ending June 2012.

In reports recently released by CYF, the total number of substantiated cases of child abuse in New Zealand decreased by 559 last year.

Child Matters announced earlier this month that it is holding the second annual Buddy Day on 16 November, which is a public participation event aimed at raising awareness of child abuse in our community and the role that every adult has in keeping children safe.

“It certainly is pleasing to see the number of substantiated cases of child abuse declining over the past year. However, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that there is still a significant number children experiencing abuse and neglect. New Zealand still has one of the highest rates of death by child abuse out of 31 OECD countries. And for every child death, there are thousands more being neglected and abused physically, sexually and emotionally.”

“When every adult takes responsibility for keeping our children safe, our society has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of all children and families affected by abuse,” explained Amanda Meynell, Academic Services Manager.

Child Matters began Buddy Day last year with the purpose of raising awareness of the issue of child abuse, so that more people take action to speak up when they believe a child is in danger.

The main Buddy Day event will take place in Hamilton on 16 November. However Child Matters is providing ‘event kits’ for purchase online to allow all New Zealanders to participate in the awareness day this year.

Buddy Day is focused around life-size cardboard children – ‘Buddies’ – who are decorated by pupils from schools and child care centres in the Waikato area prior to the event and then cared for by adults who look after the Buddies for the day.

The substantiated cases of child abuse in the Waikato region has decreased from 1806 to 1683. The organisers of Buddy Day have adjusted their planned number of Buddies to be decorated and cared for during the 16 November event in Hamilton as a result of these new numbers released by CYF.

“We will now have 335 Buddies participating in Buddy Day this year, which represents 20% of the 1683 substantiated cases of child abuse in our region,” said Buddy Day event manager, Janine Evans. In 2011, 180 Buddies were decorated and cared for, which represented 10% of last year’s substantiated cases.


Hamilton-based people interested in participating in Buddy Day 2012 can now sign up online to either decorate or care for Buddies at www.buddyday.org.nz .

Buddy Day kits will be available for purchase online early October for people throughout New Zealand interested in participating in the event.

Hamilton-based Gallagher Group is the primary sponsor of Buddy Day 2012, while other sponsors include Longveld Engineering, PSP Ltd, Verdict Communications, Montana Catering and Convex Plastics.

Buddy Day can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/buddydaynz .

-ENDS-

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