The failure of government agencies to halt appalling abuse of a nine-year-old girl has led the children’s commissioner to call for a broad independent report.
A neighbour said she called Housing New Zealand, a teacher says her school contacted the Education Ministry, and Child, Youth and Family were monitoring the girl’s family.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett will this morning review a fast-tracked interim report by CYF about how the girl was left with her family despite concerns raised about her welfare.
But Children’s Commissioner John Angus said a wider, independent report into the failure by multiple government agencies may be required. “It looks like the systems have failed this child.”
I think a wider independent inquiry is needed, but note it may not be possible until the court cases are done. I want to know who did the school tell, and how often; why did CYFS not pick up the abuse; what did Housing NZ do etc etc.
The school board’s chairwoman said the school followed the right procedures in dealing with government agencies.
A next-door neighbour of the couple said she rang Housing NZ and told three different case managers of her concerns for the couple’s children. “I knew there was something wrong.”
The good thing is that people did report their concerns – the teacher and the neighbours did the right thing. But somewhere along the way there was a failure with agencies. Not good enough.
Trevor Mallard blogs:
I’ve not been a supporter of mandatory reporting of child abuse. One of those finely balanced 60/40 things. Not die in a ditch for me.
The evidence we got was that lots of kids would not tell teachers counsellors nurses about abuse if they knew Police or CYFS would automatically be involved.
Every time we have a bad case where the system fails a child I ask myself whether we have it right
I’m not sure if such a policy would have made a difference in this case, but generally I do support mandatory reporting. I think the fear of less reporting of abuse is supposition.