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Kaitaia features again in sexual abuse cases

Kaitaia features again in sexual abuse cases

ECPAT Child ALERT is aware of two Kaitaia child sex abuse cases being before the courts today. This follows on the high profile cases last year that involved a school teacher, a business man and a church leader facing similar charges in this provincial area. According to information the Police are actually dealing with over 20 such cases in this Northland region.

Director, Alan Bell states “This is a very disturbing situation and raises concerns about sexual exploitation of children in New Zealand. The number of cases in Kaitaia may have become known to the Police as a result of increased reporting due to the publicity given to previous convictions. It would be unlikely that there is a particular cause related to the town itself as being peculiar compared to other provincial centres around New Zealand. This raises the question of how many children are being exploited around the country that are not being reported. Some may attribute the high number of cases in Kaitaia to poverty in the region. This can be over emphasised and ignores the real reason behind child sex abuse. The underlying cause of this type of abuse is mainly the demand from males seeking sexual gratification from children. Without this demand the abuse would not be there – regardless of location and the economy.”

ECPAT Child ALERT strives to prevent the sexual exploitation of children including child prostitution, child pornography and child trafficking. Their experience is that child sex abuse is an existing issue in New Zealand that needs more attention. Many New Zealanders are not aware of the extent of the problem and have the perception that the issues belong only to developing countries overseas.

This is an issue that requires all citizens to take some responsibility to ensure children are protected from all forms of abuse” says Bell. “Strong legislation and robust law enforcement can only do so much in isolation. If we are to make a real difference the whole community need to take a stand against this abuse that leaves children traumatised and deprived of a positive childhood.”

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