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Judge endorses child abuse

“The Government can get as many reports as it likes but until Judges are held to account for the disastrous consequences of their actions nothing will change.”


For immediate release:

Judge endorses child abuse

“No wonder New Zealand has such a high incidence of domestic violence and child abuse.”

That was the reaction by the Sensible Sentencing Trust to a three year sentence [two year non-parole] handed down to the father of a 9-year-old West Auckland girl found hiding in a cupboard after months of torture and abuse at the hands of her parents.

Trust Spokesman, Garth McVicar said the Judge had virtually sanctioned child abuse by giving such a pathetic sentence.

The girl was found by police in November last year hiding in a cupboard - reportedly starving, dehydrated and covered in injuries.

Soon after, the Herald revealed that Child, Youth and Family removed the girl from her mother's care in 2001 because of concerns of neglect.

She was returned to her parents' care in December 2008 and the physical abuse began soon after.

The girl and her four siblings are now in foster care.

The case caused a storm of controversy when the mother was sentenced, with the head of CYF admitting social workers failed the girl and that the case highlighted the need to improve practices.

Twenty-five agencies, including CYF, had been involved with the family because of concerns about neglect.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the Government had learned lessons and was hopeful the recommendations in a ministerial report by former Ombudsman Mel Smith would improve the country's child abuse record.

Mr. McVicar said the Judge must now be added to the 25 agencies that had contributed to this tragedy.

“This Judge had an opportunity to send a loud clear message, 15 years at least, that New Zealand will not tolerate this type of offending but failed to do so.”

“The Government can get as many reports as it likes but until Judges are held to account for the disastrous consequences of their actions nothing will change.”


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