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Commissioner wants someone held accountable

22 May 2008

Children's Commissioner wants someone held accountable for Kahui murders

Children's Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro said today she hopes someone is held accountable for the murders of three-month old baby twins Chris and Cru Kahui.

Almost two years since New Zealanders were told of the tragic murders, their father Chris Kahui was found not-guilty today.

"We know that the injuries inflicted on the twins were fatal and it will be deeply distressing to many New Zealanders if no one is held accountable for this crime," Dr Kiro said.

"We've heard through the court case about life on the fringe of society. Many abused children live in homes where there is inter-generational violence, drug and alcohol abuse. It will continue until family members break the wall of silence when the police come to call.

"Many children in these situations are not abused in secret and when nobody says anything, it is condoned.

"Babies under one year of age are the most likely to be murdered in New Zealand. They are fragile and cannot withstand being punched, thrown, kicked or shaken.

"Three month old babies cannot speak for themselves. Someone needs to break rank and tell the truth.

"While ultimately responsibility rests with the person or people who take the life of the child, or children, the life of each child that is cut short by the trauma of abuse or neglect is an indictment on our society

"The best environment for children will come from strengthening family and community networks to perform their traditional role of protecting and nurturing our young. This is not a short-term solution and involves multi-generational change.

"The first five years are critical to brain development and the brains of neglected or abused children don't develop properly, leading to poor physical and mental health, poorer educational performance, an inability to form secure attachments to others and poor socialisation The failure to provide the basics sets children up for a lifetime of problems. It is the hurt children that are most likely to go on to hurt others.

"So it is glaringly obvious that solving the child abuse problem involves investment in the early years of life, focusing on prevention and intervention when abuse occurs."

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