Child Abuse Awareness Month April 2019
12th April 2019
The month of April was marked as Child Abuse Awareness month in the United States, it has been an annual observance since 1983, and is now internationally recognised.
The Sensible Sentencing Group Trust (SSGT) made the decision to acknowledge child abuse awareness and prevention month in New Zealand this year.
SSGT Victim Advocate Jayne Walker said “We felt that there had been an enormous amount of focus on the Christchurch Mosque shootings by the New Zealand Government and gun laws were changed very swiftly, yet there has been no acknowledgment of what this month represents, and we do not want our precious children to be forgotten.”
The SSGT has been honouring the children who have been the victims of horrendous abuse and have written about the heart wrenching loss of their lives to unbelievable violence on their Facebook page “Stand UP NZ”. Thousands of people have responded to these posts.
Walker says “Obviously we have not mentioned the horrific massacre that occurred in two Christchurch Mosques last month. We know it was an unbelievably tragic loss of life and have no intention of comparing any tragedy. Our hearts go out to all the victims.”
However other members of the public have made reference to the Governments response to the Mosque shootings with one of the post’s saying “No disrespect, or taking anything away from what happened in CHCH but imagine the childrens lives that could have been saved by now if there was the same resolve to stamp out child abuse as there has been to stamp out terrorism.” This post alone saw more than a thousand ‘likes’ and a very large number of the replies to that post were in agreement.
Another person who posted a comment suggested a huge monument be erected outside of parliament, with all of the names of the wee children who had lost their lives to abuse etched on it. One Facebook user said “I have been reading all the posts on Stand UP NZ this week and it’s been making me angry. How can we change a gun law in a week but yet our Justice System hasn’t changed a bit and New Zealand children have to suffer for it. It’s pitiful and it makes me sick.”
Jayne Walker went on to say “Our hearts are truly warmed with the unbelievable amount of support we have precipitated. We are overwhelmed.”
“The SSGT has set up an email address to cope with the number of messages and cries for help it has been receiving. We intend to campaign beyond April’s child abuse awareness month and needed a place for people to share their ideas. We have had some really sad messages from people crying out for help as well, and we will be supporting and working with these people, assisting however we can.”
New Zealand has one of the worst records of Child Abuse in the developed world. Every five weeks a child loses their little life to violence. Walker said “There has to be change, we have to stamp out child abuse. We no longer accept that our Government can’t make change, we know that they can. We cannot stand silently any longer waiting for them to wake up!”
If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much!