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60 Complaints of Children Abused In CYF Custody

60 Complaints of Children Abused In CYF Custody

A thirteen-year-old girl in the custody of the Department of Child, Youth and Family was sexually assaulted while being held in a Care and Protection Unit, ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman revealed today.

"Answers to my parliamentary questions show that children in CYF custody at both Youth Justice and Care & Protection facilities have made sixty serious complaints of physical or sexual abuse in the past eighteen months.

"Kids as young as ten have been the victims of assault. In Kingslea Residential Centre - the facility that houses convicted murderer BJ Kurariki - there have been 17 serious complaints of abuse, or almost one every single month.

"Of the 56 complaints of physical or sexual assault, eighteen instances of abuse have been proven. I am concerned to know the reason for twenty allegations - including some by very young children - being withdrawn. I hope this is not because of intimidation. Twelve complaints have not been substantiated, and investigations are still underway in the remaining cases.

"These are the places that children who are a risk to themselves and society are taken, for their own protection. They are supposed to be safe spaces where children are educated and helped on to the right path. It is shocking that in one of these centres, a 13-year-old can be sexually assaulted, and in another, a ten year-old boy can be physically abused.

"CYF has taken responsibility for these children, yet doesn't even separate younger children from older children. That puts very young children in an unsafe space where they are at the mercy of offenders who are older. This does nothing to teach these kids to respect authority, and may breed more offending in the future," Dr Newman said.

These figures show that CYF is failing in its duty to keep these children safe. I call on the Minister to explain what he intends to do, to ensure that children in CYF care are kept safe," Dr Newman said.

Abuse in secure youth facilities operated by Child, Youth and Family Services: Northern Residential Centre (Manurewa): 23 complaints. 13 complaints withdrawn. 2 complaints not substantiated. 7 investigations under way. 1 complaint upheld: physical abuse of 16 year-old male.

Lower North Youth Justice Residential Centre (Palmerston North): 14 complaints. 6 complaints withdrawn. No complaint not substantiated. 3 investigations under way. 5 complaints upheld: physical abuse of four 16 year-old males and one 16 year-old female.

Epuni Care and Protection Unit (Lower Hutt): 6 complaints. 1 complaint withdrawn. 1 complaint not substantiated. No investigations under way. 3 complaints upheld: physical abuse of 14 year-old male and 13 year-old female, and sexual abuse of 13 year-old female.

Kingslea Residential Centre (Christchurch): 17 complaints. No complaints withdrawn. 9 complaints not substantiated. No investigations under way. 9 complaints upheld: physical abuse of 10 year-old male, 12 year-old male, three 15 year-old males, two 13 year-old females, 15 year-old female, and sexual abuse of 16 year-old female.

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