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Newman: Select Committee Should Probe Child Abuse

ACT Social Welfare spokesman, Dr Muriel Newman, announced today that she is renewing her call for a social services select committee inquiry into child abuse.

Child abuse pierced the public consciousness recently when numerous child abuse cases gained a high media profile. The issue was inflamed further when Labour Minister, Turiana Turia, blamed disproportional Maori child abuse statistics on Post Colonialism Traumatic Stress disorder.

“The issue of child abuse has struck a chord in all political parties. National’s Bob Simcock is attempting to renew the discussion on whether there should be mandatory reporting of child abuse, while Labour’s Turiana Turia believes we must look in the past for causation.

“These issues however will not get to the heart of the problem. The causes of child abuse are deep and complex, and the problem must be addressed on many fronts. By calling for expert submissions, a select committee inquiry can draw together those best placed and informed, to help develop a comprehensive plan to tackle child abuse.

“This call for a select committee inquiry follows mounting concerns that the Government is trying to censure and close down the debate on child abuse. The actions of certain Ministers of the Crown in attempting to stop advocates speaking out, has been regarded as shameful.

“A select committee inquiry into child abuse, by being both open and public, would send a strong message to the public that all political parties, as well as the Government, are committed to finding solutions to a problem that has always been New Zealand’s hidden shame,” said Dr Muriel Newman.

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