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Labour encourages police backlog on child abuse

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

6 September 2006

Labour encourages police backlog on child abuse

National Party Associate Welfare spokeswoman Anne Tolley says Labour needs to sort out the mixed messages being sent to agencies over child abuse.

"Revelations today that police have hundreds of unallocated child abuse cases make a mockery of Ruth Dyson's claim last week that police were too 'risk averse'.

"Implicit in Ms Dyson's comments was a message that police should prioritise better and stop referring so many child abuse allegations. Quite apart from being a startling admission of CYFS failure, the Minister clearly failed to check first on the rates of child abuse reported to police.

"If she had, she might have known there were hundreds of unallocated cases in police files.

"But, as we've seen recently, Labour prefers to pretend child abuse is not a serious issue in New Zealand.

"In recent Government-commissioned reports there was a total lack of any detail about the level of established child abuse. Despite efforts to hide the fact, substantiated child abuse has actually doubled under Helen Clark's watch."

Mrs Tolley says the recently announced multimillion-dollar ad campaign targeting family violence will add to the pressure.

"When this campaign was announced, National asked whether Labour had put the infrastructure in place to deal with a likely increase in notifications. There still hasn't been an adequate answer.

"As the Minister who is supposed to be in charge of CYFS, Ruth Dyson had a public responsibility to work with the police before shooting from the lip about their 'risk averse' approach to child abuse," says Mrs Tolley.


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