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No Investment To Prevent Child Abuse

In spite of public demand for the Government to do something to reduce the level of child abuse and neglect the Budget failed to invest in any prevention programmes, National's Social Services spokesperson Bob Simcock said today.

"The last National Government put a high priority on prevention programmes like 'Family Start'. These programmes work with the families of children who are at risk well before the children have any chance to get into difficulty.

"International research shows that programmes like Family Start that work with families in their homes from the time a child is born, are the best way to protect children from abuse and neglect.

"There are currently seventeen programmes most of which cover quite limited areas of population.

"In 1999 Labour candidates promised to extend 'Family Start' around the country.

"Even the Minister of Corrections recently listed 'Family Start' as one of the keys to reducing criminal offending among young people. But there was no new money in either last year's or yesterday's budget for extending the 'Family Start' programme.

"Many communities throughout New Zealand have asked for Family Start to come to their community. On Monday I visited one of the Family Start programmes where staff told me they are having to turn families away because they do not come from within the small district they are funded to service. They pleaded for an extension to the area they cover.

"The Labour Government has been pleased to talk about the importance of preventing abuse and neglect but they aren't willing to do anything about it," Bob Simcock said.

Ends


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