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Lessons learnt 10 years on from Nia Glassie death

Lessons learnt 10 years on from Nia Glassie death

Child advocacy group Child Matters says the 10th anniversary of the death of Rotorua three-year-old, Nia Glassie, is a timely reminder to reflect on the issues of child abuse in our community – and also that a focus on further progress must not let up.

Nia, whose tragic death shocked New Zealanders, was systematically abused by her caregivers and died at Auckland’s Starship Hospital on August 3, 2007.

There have been numerous high profile cases since then, with August also marking the two year passing of Taupo toddler, Moko Rangitoheriri.

Child Matters CEO Jane Searle says society’s awareness of the extent and seriousness of the issue of child abuse seems to have increased in the last 10 years.

“Communities seem to be wanting to address the issue – this was evidenced by the marches that happened after Moko’s death – but we still have a long way to go in creating a wider understanding of the issue, and in particular people’s confidence to act if they suspect abuse,” Ms Searle says.

“People in a range of sectors need to know the indicators of vulnerability, how to respond and how to intervene early to support children and families and stop abuse happening in the first place.”

She says every New Zealander has a critical role in keeping children safe and together a genuine difference can be made.

“People often feel uncomfortable intervening, as they do not feel it is their place or they may be concerned they are wrong, but we strongly urge anyone who may have concerns about a child to speak up.”

Ms Searle says the community has to step up to make change and no single agency alone can protect vulnerable children.

New Zealand has the second highest rate of child abuse deaths in the OECD, with a child killed every five weeks.


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