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Experts focus on Child Abuse

Experts focus on Child Abuse

An independent experts’ forum asked to identify steps to prevent child abuse and neglect has come back with a range of recommendations for the Government to consider.

“The findings challenge the way we currently protect our most vulnerable children and actually, they challenge the way we don’t,” says Social development Minister Paula Bennett.

The Experts’ Forum was asked to identify measures that will prevent child abuse and neglect from happening or from recurring.

Between 2008 and 2009, Child Youth and Family dealt with close to 19,596 new cases of substantiated abuse.

“There is a real concern that despite a range of agencies that deal with at risk children and their families, still too many of our most vulnerable children slip through the cracks,” says Ms Bennett.

The experts forum found:
• Data sharing between agencies is inadequate
• Healthcare professionals aren’t routinely informed by other agencies when the children they’re treating are at risk
• Government departments don’t share abuse prevention strategies

Recommendations include:
• Multi-disciplinary approach to child abuse prevention
• Home based support
• Data sharing between agencies
• Priority mental health services for parents of small children

“Some of this is really basic stuff. I thank the experts’ forum for its work, which will help inform policy on protecting our most vulnerable,” says Ms Bennett.

“I am determined to close the gaps that, despite the best efforts of many agencies, at-risk children have been falling through,” says Ms Bennett.

Independent Experts' Forum report:
http://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/ExpertsForumChildAbuse.pdf

ENDS

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