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Abuse of children in care can’t be ignored

29 April 2013

Abuse of children in care can’t be ignored

A report on the work of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service should be enforced reading for anyone involved in keeping children in state care safe, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern says.

The service was established in 2008 by the Labour government to provide assistance for people who allege abuse or neglect or have concerns about their time in state care prior to 1992. The panel has heard from 702 participants, with a further 267 yet to have their concerns heard.

“The report, obtained through the Official Information Act, notes that at the time they were abused victims felt their voices were generally not sought, heard, or, worse, believed.

“They wanted to share their experience for no other reason than to prevent other children from going through the same thing they did, yet cases of children being abused in state care are still being reported.

“The service has done excellent work. However we now need to act – and that means taking a systematic approach to the issues raised by these victims and taking a critical look at state care in all its forms, from foster care through to residential care and kinship care, which former ombudsman, Mel Smith, has already urged us to investigate.

“If we fail to do that, then we fail every one of those people and every other abused child that follows them.

“The first step would be for the Government to widen the net of people able to access the service by bringing forward the 1992 cut-off point.”

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