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After school abuse raises serious questions

Sue MORONEY

Social Development Spokesperson

25 October  2013     MEDIA STATEMENT

After school abuse raises serious questions

Serious questions must be asked, including whether enough staff were on duty, after a man was charged with abusing a child at an after school programme, said Labour's Spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.

Northland man, James Sanders has been charged with seven counts of sexual violation and indecent assault at an OSCAR programme.

“This is a very serious case. It is horrifying to think that a young child has been put in such a vulnerable position. Parents need to know their children are safe when they are in Government-subsidised care,” said Sue Moroney.

“Minister Paula Bennett must urgently review the OSCAR procedures. We warned she was putting vulnerable children at risk when she reduced the two staff requirement in 2011, but she went ahead anyway.

“I call on her to reinstate the requirement for two staff to be on duty at all times in after school programmes.

"Cabinet papers show Paula Bennett knew that the requirement for two staff was an important child protection measure, but she was in a hurry to get sole parents onto job queues so she dropped the standard of care for children outside school hours.

“Police vetting isn't a foolproof method of preventing child abuse, as this type of offending often goes unreported. Having two staff on at all times is an important back-stop.

"It's disappointing that the Minister has been writing green and white papers about vulnerable children with one hand, while getting rid of important child protection matters with the other,” said Sue Moroney.

ENDS

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