Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Raft of changes to better protect children

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development

Minister of Youth Affairs

9 February 2012 Media Statement

Learning results in raft of changes to better protect children

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says a Ministerial Inquiry into a case of serious abuse of a nine year old, has led to major changes.

“Both parents responsible for the appalling litany of abuse against their nine year old child have now been found guilty and sentenced and that’s where the primary responsibility lies,” says Ms Bennett.

”But I called for a Ministerial Inquiry because it was clear multiple agencies and adults missed the abuse and we have to do things better.”

The Inquiry carried out by former Ombudsman Mel Smith contained thirteen recommendations.

“Most of the recommendations have been addressed and some are included for public consultation through the Green Paper,” says Ms Bennett.

We’ve announced an extra 149 social workers in schools and 96 on the frontline, the Failure to Protect (Crimes Act Amendment) law was passed and the Privacy (Information Sharing) Amendment Bill is progressing.

Within Child, Youth and Family, filing and reporting systems have been reviewed and training of CYF workers to lift practise and supervision has been overhauled. A dedicated phone line for teachers has also been introduced.

“We also signed a memorandum of understanding between CYF, Health and Police so these three agencies can better work together.”

Mel Smith also recommended all agencies have a child centred focus, mandatory reporting of abuse and greater information sharing.

“All of these things are central to the Green Paper and are being publicly debated, I’m also raising questions about kinship care in that process.”

The idea of a Children’s Court is being considered.

“We’ve also agreed changes to ensure child witnesses are better treated, which is part of that child-focused approach,” says Ms Bennett.

“The case that sparked this Inquiry was unusual and it was a big step to call for a Ministerial Inquiry but the lessons have been pivotal to improvements across Government and to the formation of the Green Paper.”

These changes are in addition to work done over the first term of the National Government including:

• The Never, Ever Shake a Baby Campaign
• Supporting Auckland District Health Board’s shaken baby prevention pilot
• The NGO First Response Trial
• Placed CYF social workers into hospitals
• Multi-disciplinary meetings before abused child leaves hospital
• Better data and monitoring systems
• Independent Experts Forum

Green Paper submissions close 28 February and can be made at:

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction. However, our current worldview and political paradigm renders us incapable of responding adequately due to its disconnected and divisive default settings.

These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other. Read on The Dig>>

The Dig: Scoop’s Engaged Journalism Platform Launches
The Scoop Ecosystem has grown bigger with the launch of The Dig - a new public interest, in-depth, Engaged Journalism platform. More>>


Unscoped Or Missed Damage: Resolution For Canterbury Owners Of On-Sold Homes

People with over-cap on-sold* properties in Canterbury can now apply for a Government payment so they can get on and repair their homes. More>>


Hamilton-Auckland: First Urban Growth Partnership Signed

New Zealand’s first urban growth partnership between the Government, local councils and mana whenua was signed at a meeting of mayors, chairs and ministers in Hampton Downs today. More>>


Vote On Action Next Week: Secondary Principals Walk From Negotiations

“Unfortunately we consider there is no further value in continuing negotiations at this point. The government has not been able to table an offer that will be acceptable to our members.” More>>

Patrol Car Stolen, Glocks Taken: Manhunt In Gore

The driver rammed the patrol car before fleeing on foot with Police chasing, also on foot. The man has then circled back around, stolen the patrol vehicle, which had the keys left in it, and rammed another Police car... Two Police-issued Glock pistols were stolen. More>>


"Shocking And Dangerous": Accused Mosque Shooter's Prison Letter Posted Online

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has sent seven letters from prison and had two others withheld, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. Corrections has now blocked the accused gunman from sending or receiving mail... More>>


Standing On List Only: Paula Bennett To Run National’s Election Campaign

The National Party is pleased to announce the appointment of Paula Bennett as our Campaign Chair for the 2020 General Election, President Peter Goodfellow says. More>>

Waiver For State Care Inquiry: Historic Abuse Survivors 'Can Speak Freely'

Abuse in state care survivors can take part in the forthcoming Royal Commission proceedings without being bound by any confidentiality obligations to Crown agencies under their historic claim settlements, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said. More>>


Trail Trial: Sexual Violence Court Reduces Lead-Up Times And Trauma

An evaluation of New Zealand’s first sexual violence court has confirmed that the approach taken in the judge-led pilot considerably reduces the time that cases take to reach trial. More>>




InfoPages News Channels