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Tortured Girl Failed by Many

Tortured Girl Failed by Many

The torture of a 9-year old Waitakere girl has raised the anger and disgust of the nation over the weekend.

Anthea Simcock, CEO of Child Matters said that “Many with whom I spoke talked of the difficulty they had simply to read about what happened to the little girl, and agreed they could not start to imagine how it would be to experience such cruelty.”

There are differing opinions about who is responsible. Clearly, the parents committed these awful acts and are responsible for the abuse.

However, the question arises yet again, about who else could have done something to stop it? Who could have acted to protect the child? Who could have let her know that they were aware, and that she deserved better?

Child Youth and Family will obviously be amongst that group. No doubt there will, quite rightly, be a review of their practices and actions, with the hopeful outcome that better decisions will be made in future.

But Anthea points out “They are not the only ones who should be examining what they could have done differently. A similar review needs to be undertaken by the school and all other agencies, medical centres or services that were involved with this child.”

“Why did they not recognise what was in front of them? How good are their systems and processes for protecting children from this type of abuse? Are their staff competent and confident enough to take action if they do suspect something? They need to have safe practices and trained staff.

“Schools needs to be very clear about what do when a child arrives with injuries or behaviours that are typical of an abused child. They need to have processes that follow up if the child is kept away from school because of those injuries.”

It was not only the parents and CYF who failed this child. There are people who turned a blind eye or else didn’t even recognise what was hidden in front of their noses. Others failed to listen or help her.

All child abuse is unacceptable. Each and every one of us has a role to play in protecting children from abuse.


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