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First Response programme launched in Auckland

Hon Paula Bennett

Minister for Social Development and Employment

Minister of Youth Affairs

3 December 2009
Media Release

First Response programme launched in Auckland

A new programme aimed at reducing the country’s shocking rate of child abuse gets underway in Auckland today, the Social Development and Employment Minister says.

Paula Bennett believes New Zealand has had enough of hearing about child after child being abused at the hands of those meant to care for them.

“All too often agencies like Child, Youth and Family and the Police end up dealing with these broken families and their broken children.

“First Response aims to give families the help they need before they reach breaking point. The trial in Grey Lynn, Panmure and Onehunga over the coming year will aim to stop over 500 children becoming part of that cycle of abuse,” Paula Bennett says.

The First Response trial was part of a string of initiatives announced in early September aimed at protecting vulnerable infants.

“Child, Youth and Family, Police and Shine* (Safer Homes in New Zealand) will provide crisis support to families with under-2 year olds immediately after a family violence incident.

“A Shine* social worker will meet with the family and work with them to create a plan to keep everyone safe. Together, they’ll look at the triggers which got them to boiling point.

“Shine* will refer the family into the services they need. Any concerns about the small children in the home will be reported to Child, Youth and Family immediately.

“We know that children exposed to family violence from a young age can be affected in a number of ways throughout their lives. First Response will ensure vulnerable children in families where there is violence get the help they need at the very beginning.”

Paula Bennett has also confirmed the Never Ever Shake a Baby Campaign will begin at the weekend.

“I hope the ad campaign will resonate with parents. If we can make someone remember the dangers of shaking a baby at that crucial end-of-your-tether moment – it will be a success.

“23 children are hospitalised each year because they’ve been shaken. We must – and we can – do better for our babies.”

ENDS

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