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Nats take cautious approach to violence report

Anne Tolley MP
National’s Associate Welfare (CYFS) Spokeswoman

28 July 2006

Nats take cautious approach to violence report

National’s Associate Welfare spokeswoman Anne Tolley is greeting the first report from the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families with caution.

“Everyone wants to see progress on the issues of family violence. Awareness campaigns can be helpful, but not if there’s no one to pick up the phone when people call.”

Mrs Tolley says answers to parliamentary questions show that despite an improvement in performance, more than 800 calls a month are still not being answered by the CYFS call centre.

“We’re regularly getting stories of people holding for 10-15 minutes in order to report an at-risk child.

“From past experience we know that an increase in calls is inevitable in the wake of an awareness campaign. What arrangements is CYF putting in place to deal with that spike in demand?

“Of course the unallocated CYF caseload has been hugely problematic in the past, so what assurances do we have that history won’t repeat itself?

“CYF is already struggling to retain quality staff in sufficient numbers. The report released today doesn’t even mention that. How will they cope with an even heavier workload?”

Mrs Tolley says both yesterday’s CYF report and today’s ministerial report promise better co-ordination between agencies dealing with families.

“This is not rocket science and Labour has been promising that for more than five years,” she says.

Responding to Judge Mick Brown’s review in 2001, the Government said: ‘The Ministry of Social Policy is to work with Health, Education and other relevant agencies on ways to ensure information can be shared so that children gain timely access to the care and protection services they require. This needs to be completed early in the second half of this year’.

“Labour said the gaps in inter-agency communication would be fixed by 2002. It’s tragic that in 2006 we’re still being asked to wait,” says Mrs Tolley.


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