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Protecting our Children from Child Abuse

Media Release

Heather Henare
CAPS New Zealand
Phone 04 384 2430
021 296 5682 1 August 2000

Protecting our Children from Child Abuse

“Making children a priority in this country has to be the first step in stopping child abuse,” said Heather Henare, National Co-ordinator for the Child Abuse Prevention Service (CAPS NZ).
Stopping child abuse is not just about detection and reporting. Most of the children who die at the hands of their parents or caregivers in this country already have a history of abuse that someone knows about. This can and does include:
 Previous notification to a statutory or community agency
 Previous contact with a health or educative professional ie GP, Hopital, teachers
 Knowledge within the family of prior abuse to the child

We need to do more. We are asking families to trust these agencies by reporting, yet many of these agencies don’t trust each other.
With every child that dies in this country the same issues come up time and time again. Why didn’t somebody do something?

The Child Abuse Prevention Service (CAPS NZ) believes we can. The service would like to see more effort put into effective education and support resources being put forward to the key child prevention services. Thereby enabling those agencies to help families to become safer parents.

This initiative has to include better access to support agencies. Access must not be limited by funding contracts that can put impossible timeframes around working with families who sometimes have huge generational abuse issues to work through.

There needs to be more effort put into the management of offenders in this country. Priority must be given to issues like, offender profiling, safety checklist for families and more media exposure given to methods changing violent behaviour.


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