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Specialist Child Protection training needed

MEDIA RELEASE
11 October 2011

Specialist Child Protection training needed for all working with children

Child abuse prevention organisation, Child Matters, supports comments made this weekend by Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills who proposes a "children's action plan to eliminate child poverty, protect children from abuse and exploitation, extend rights to education and health to all children, improve parenting skills and protect and rehabilitate children in the justice and state care systems”.

Amanda Meynell, spokesperson for Child Matters, agrees “It is critical for all those working with children – doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, family/whanau workers, community workers, church groups etc – to receive specialist child protection training. There are numerous people throughout our communities that are in excellent positions to recognise when a child is being abused. However, these people need the skills and knowledge to know what to look for, know how to respond and they need to gain the confidence to act to protect a child.”

Mrs Meynell supports the action taken by Dr Wills who has sent proposals to professional bodies to discuss the Government’s Green Paper. “This is our opportunity as New Zealanders to ensure that the issue of child abuse is brought into the public arena, and that we are all part of coming up with a solution to reduce the high rate of abuse on children in our country”.

Unlike other countries in the OECD there is no requirement for compulsory Child Protection training in New Zealand. Therefore professionals who have graduated from tertiary institutions with qualifications and then gone on to get jobs in the community working with children and families may not be qualified to recognise child abuse or know how to respond to keep children safe.

Child Matters strongly believes that the Government must regulate to ensure all professionals hold a child protection qualification as a requirement of professional registration.

Child Matters is New Zealands only specialist child protection education provider.

-ENDS-

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