Dom Post on child abuse white paper

October 12th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s White Paper on vulnerable children includes steps that, properly implemented and resourced, will help ensure better reporting and information sharing by state and non-governmental agencies dealing with kids at risk.

It proposes mandatory reporting of suspected in all but name. Agencies working with children will be required by law to have policies on identifying and reporting possible abuse and neglect and professionals will have a clear responsibility to act.

The White Paper also proposes a central database of vulnerable children to give professionals working with them a comprehensive picture of their lives. Doctors, teachers, social workers, police and other agencies will have access to the database and be able to enter information. Details from a new child abuse line to take and triage calls from the public will also be fed into the database if concerns are found to warrant further attention.

The database will also include information on adults who have abused or neglected children, allowing those accessing it to see whether a child they are concerned about is in contact with someone who poses a danger to them.

Such a database is long overdue. There have been too many examples of one agency or professional having contact with a child in danger, but not acting to protect them.

There’s many worthwhile initiatives in the white paper, but I think this is the most important.

Too often the early abuse is not detected or acted upon until it is too late.

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3 Responses to “Dom Post on child abuse white paper”

  1. Martin Gibson (247 comments) says:

    The major gap in NEw Zealand is still a lack of training to recognize and respond appropriately to signs of child abuse and neglect as a compulsory part of social work teaching and nursing quals, although I understand that the white paper suggests this is something that should happen eventually.

    NZ is one of the only countries in the OECD where such training is not compusory, and we have one of the highest child mortality rates — someone’s got to connect the dots eventually.

    Child Matters did child safety training with locals on Pitcairn Island after the big bust, and took it from an unsafe community for kids (which it was) to one the British Government judged safe.

    I did their one week course and found (although it could have been shorter) there were several kids that popped into my head as having been worthy of action, although my gut told me at the time something was not right.

    One of their catchphrases is: “People say: “What if I’m wrong?” we say: “What if you’re right?” It’s a good one to think about when you see a kid in a bad way.

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  2. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    Or we could address the cause and stop paying children to have babies, make both biological parents responsible for their kids, easier adoption into responsible families, …

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  3. tvb (4,518 comments) says:

    They should include information from the police and the courts. The police especially know what is going on in high risk families and they should be involved more. The courts will show who is abusing drugs and alcohol and that will also show potential problems.

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