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System Fails To Cope With Children Suffering STDs

System Fails To Cope With Children Suffering from Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A multi-disciplinary approach is necessary for Government agencies to appropriately respond to children suffering from sexually transmitted diseases, ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"I am horrified to discover in the latest NZ Medical Journal that there have been at least 18 reported cases of genital gonorrhoea in pre-pubertal children since 1991, with at least 12 cases since 1997.

"The Government must pay heed to the recommendations of the report's author, Dr Patrick Kelly of the Auckland child abuse assessment unit Whakaruruhau.

"There is no question: a child with gonorrhoea has been sexually abused, and that child needs urgent help. Yet there are huge problems getting rapid and effective inter-agency communication. This problem is not one agency's fault, but highlights the need for a multi-disciplinary approach between the police, CYF and other agencies.

"ACT believes strongly in the need for a one-stop agency that can quickly respond to children in need. Responsibility should not be shared between numerous Government departments, because this means that too many children fall through the cracks," Dr Newman said.

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