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Child protection agency praises business entrepreneur

Child protection agency praises business entrepreneur

Owen Glenn has returned to New Zealand for the launch of his much anticipated biography but more importantly he says he's back to support children and families and to raise attention to New Zealand's family violence and child abuse statistics and his commitment to reverse them.

Glenn's Foundation (The Glenn Family Foundation) has been in operation for over 30 years and includes a vast array of projects from leprosy to child prostitution and trafficking but it is the New Zealand's high statistics in child abuse and family violence that are currently on Glenn's radar.

Glenn says "It is shocking to think in a beautiful country like New Zealand these problems exist but the growing statistics are alarming and it's simply not good enough. People don't realise that the cost of domestic violence and child abuse to the New Zealand economy is the equivalent of rebuilding Christchurch every four years - forever. It's a national embarrassment."

Alan Bell, Director of ECPAT Child ALERT is delighted with this news. "Thank goodness someone with a business head and a compassionate heart has recognised this social ill in New Zealand and is willing to put his money where his mouth is. It is not just a drain on our economy - it drains the very fabric of society. New Zealand has a dismal record of caring for children and the research we have indicates much of the problem stems from dysfunctional families. The breakdown in family structures, the lack of positive parenting and the negative impact of violence, drugs and alcohol all contribute to New Zealand ranking poorly on most child wellbeing indicators among the OECD countries. New Zealand should not be like this and we applaud this initiative to help make New Zealand once again a safe place for children to grow up in free from fear and abuse."

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Glenn says the projects his Foundation will get involved with will aim to pull people together. "As I said earlier, it's all about building stronger communities, 'for community by community'. We all need to wake up because this is a national epidemic which needs to be stopped as soon as possible."

"Many people either do not recognise the problem or are unwilling to get involved to prevent it " says Bell. " Many people state this degree of abuse , including sexual abuse only happens overseas in places like Thailand and Cambodia. We have been saying for a long time that New Zealand is not exempt! This issue needs to be led out by the Government but everybody needs to play a part and work together to protect our children. Prevention is always better than dealing with the results. This will require a major shift in attitudes and behaviour before we can say that all New Zealand children are able to reach their full potential free from sexual, physical, mental and psychological abuse."

ECPAT Child ALERT is a registered charitable trust working in New Zealand since 1994 to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.

ends


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