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Newman to Force an Inquiry

Newman to Force an Inquiry

Monday 31st Jul 2000 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Justice

“I am at a loss to know why our Government agencies can not protect our children and I want some answers quickly,” Dr Newman said. The baby at the centre of the Whangarei case was taken from its family in the Manawatu and placed with its grandmother.

“Just to say ‘its alright the baby is being placed with a relative’ is not good enough,” Dr Newman said

“I am calling into question the whole of the Government’s Whanau (family) placement policy.

“It seems to me that with the rush to place a baby within the family, the CYFS service have forgotten to ensure people who will be caring for a child are also safe.”

Dr Newman said violence was learned behaviour pattern. “If you fail to properly check the background of people seeking to care for children you are asking for trouble,” she said.

“In the case of the Whangarei baby, I want to know what follow-up checks were carried out by CYFS after the child was moved hundreds of kilometres away from its mother?

“ Did a social worker visit and see the child and if so how can the service explain damage to the baby which were weeks old?” Dr Newman said the latest horrific case of child abuse has strengthened her resolve to get Parliament to address the issue as well as demanding answers from Social Welfare Minister Steve Maharey.

“New Zealand now has one of the worst level of child abuse and child homicide in the OECD,” she said

Dr Newman said it was time that penalties for child abuse were reviewed “We must send an extraordinarily strong signal to the community that child abuse will not be tolerated in any way regardless of race or creed.

“There is something radically wrong if under the Crime’s Act, a person who steals $300 can receive a stiffer jail term than someone who brutalises a child,” Dr Newman said.

(NB: Under the Crime’s Act a person who steals $300 can be sent to prison for 7 years. A person who abuses a child can be sent to prison for five years.


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