Calls for Independent Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse
Media Release - Family First NZ | 27 July 2007
Family First NZ is joining with For the Sake of our Children Trust in calling for an official Inquiry into the unacceptable levels of child abuse in NZ.
The call comes after the horrific case of a Rotorua child fighting for her life as a result of abuse. Her step-father and other household members have been charged with assault.
"The ban on smacking was simply an admission by politicians that they could not and would not tackle the real causes of child abuse as identified by recent CYFS and UNICEF reports," says Bob McCoskrie of Family First.
"The 80% plus of NZ'ers who opposed Bradford's bill are not people who were demanding the right to "thrash and beat" children as suggested by Helen Clark. They were simply kiwis who were exasperated with the fact that politicians and supposed child welfare groups were more interested in targeting good parents and light smacking than tackling the tougher issues of family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, violence in our media, poverty, and weak family ties."
"The anti-smacking bill has been a spectacular failure because it has failed to identify and target the real issues. It was simply about a political agenda rather than practical solutions."
"An Otara couple who could be out of prison in only four years for the recent horrific abuse of their three year old shows that we simply aren't placing enough emphasis and resources on sending a clear message to child abusers that their actions are unacceptable. These type of people probably think section 59 is the main road into Wellington."
Since the passing of the amendment to section 59, there has been a continual stream of child abuse cases including:
* Porirua mum and step-father charged with mistreating 3 children, including 5 year old admitted to Wellington Hospital with serious head injuries
* 16 month old Remuera boy dies after beating while in care of relative
* 28-year-old woman charged with murdering a newborn baby found dead in the backyard of a Te Mome Road property in Alicetown.
* Death of 22 month old Tokoroa girl from severe burns – being cared for by step-father. Claims was burnt in hot shower but 17 hour delay before arriving at hospital. Still under investigation.
* Hawkes Bay father shoots daughter with air rifle. Convicted and jailed for 6 months
* Christchurch mum-of-two found at P Lab. Charged with failing to provide necessaries of life and allowing home to be used for manufacturing P
* 3-year-old Rotorua girl seriously ill after 3 weeks of abuse allegedly by stepfather and extended family
"This latest case is yet another wake-up call, following on from the high-profile Kahui case, that children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse."
"An independent Inquiry would be an important first step," says Mr McCoskrie