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Submission to Green Paper urgestraining for child workers

24 February 2012

Child Matters’ submission to Green Paper urges compulsory training for all people who work with children

Hamilton, New Zealand - New Zealand’s leading child advocacy training organisation, Child Matters, today finalised its submission to the Government’s Green Paper.

The organisation’s primary message to Government is that in order to make a positive impact on New Zealand’s appalling child abuse statistics, a critical part of the solution is to make child abuse prevention education compulsory for all people working with children.

CEO, Anthea Simcock, says, “Child abuse will only be eliminated when every adult has the knowledge and ability to recognise the warnings signs and the confidence to take action.

“Child Matters believes it should be a national requirement that professionals working with children - whether in education, health, social services or sport - be required to undertake some form of child protection training.

“We are expectant that Government will support our view and provide resourcing going forward. A focus on training is a commitment to take a proactive, preventative approach, rather than focusing on resourcing the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.”

Child Matters is the only organisation in New Zealand solely focused on child abuse prevention and education. It works to prevent child abuse by speaking up for New Zealand children and educating adults to identify and action child abuse.

Since its inception 18 years ago, Child Matters has trained over 22,000 adults through its child abuse prevention workshops and diploma programmes.

Mrs Simcock went on to say that Child Matters believes the best interventions, collaborations, services or protocols will only succeed in keeping children safe if the adults carrying them out are equipped to do so.

“The Government cannot achieve its desired goals and eliminate the causes of child abuse on its own, but can show leadership in requiring basic standards and skill levels of those in close contact with children,” she explained.

Initiating compulsory training for those working with children will require legislation changes, coupled with effective regulation that is both agreed to and supported across relevant Government agencies.

Mrs Simcock pointed out that such training is mandatory for those working with children in many Western countries, including many states of both the USA and Australia. “It’s time for New Zealand to join these leading countries and make child abuse prevention training a requirement for children’s workers.”

Child Matters’ submission to the Government’s Green Paper includes nine (9) recommendations relating to equipping the wider community with child abuse prevention training.

Among the recommendations are: giving parents and caregivers access to child abuse prevention workshops; training all front-line public sector workers; legislating all professionals who have direct contact with children undertake child abuse prevention training; and making available child abuse prevention training to all Whānau, hapū, Iwi and Māori leaders for their communities.

Child Matters is also recommending Government consider the provision of an independent child protection help-line.

Child Matters is urging the community to join with them in making a submission to the Government’s Green Paper, urging consideration for child abuse prevention training. A submission form can be downloaded from the organisation’s website: www.childmatters.org.nz . The deadline for submission is Tuesday, 28 February.

Child Matters is a charitable trust that works with communities throughout New Zealand. It is supported by funding from the Ministry of Education, community trusts and private donations.




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