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Jigsaw Praises Hoana Curtis For Disclosing Abuse

5 DECEMBER 2008

Jigsaw Praises Hoana Curtis For Disclosing Abuse

Jigsaw Family Services acknowledges the courage 17 year old Hoana Curtis has shown, firstly by trying to stop her father’s life threatening abuse of three year old Nia Glassie and secondly by publicly speaking the truth at her father’s trial.

Liz Kinley, Jigsaw’s Chief Executive strategic operations, says that Hoana Curtis has become a model for many of us, taking action to try and stop abuse and then telling the story publicly, so that the abuser could be brought to justice.

‘Very sadly, Hoana was not able to find anyone safe to talk to within her immediate family and household. No one listened to her concerns about Nia’s safety, or took action to prevent the tragic outcome for Nia. Had there been someone else safe outside the family or within the wider extended family whom Hoana had been able to talk to about what was happening, then Nia might be alive now.

Ms Kinley says that there are two things we all need to take on board if we want to do all we can to help children who may be being abused. The first is to accept that we have a personal responsibility to take action. The second is the determination to intervene ourselves or to tell someone who will be able to act and ensure protection for the child.

Hoana Curtis’s admirable behaviour has demonstrated both these things. As a young person she had limited options and resources but she had the courage to tell others in her household so they could help. But no one listened or took the action that was needed.

Hoana’s story needs to be heard. Other young people like Hoana need to have more alternatives available to them if they find themselves in a similar situation. They need to have adults available that will listen and take action, to protect the child being abused and to protect the young person who has told the story, from the wrath of the abuser.

One thing we can all do as a result of hearing Hoana’s story, is to strengthen relationships of trust across our extended families and wherever possible to make sure we have established some kind of positive relationship with our neighbours.

When we know the names of the children and young people living near us and smile and say hello to them in the street, there is a greater chance that they will find a way to let us know, if something is happening that is dangerous and they need help.

For more information about keeping children safe, visit our Jigsaw website on www.jigsaw.org.nz.

ENDS

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