Plan to address New Zealand's horrific child abuse rate.
Subject: Child abuse (Statistics)
Child abuse (Laws, regulations and rules)
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 7
Topic: Event Code: 680 Labor Distribution by Employer; 930 Government regulation; 940 Government regulation (cont); 980 Legal issues & crime; 970 Government domestic functions Advertising Code: 94 Legal/Government Regulation Computer Subject: Government regulation
Product: Product Code: 9101224 Child Abuse NAICS Code: 92219 Other Justice, Public Order, and Safety Activities
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Name: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 266344833
Full Text: Every year, around 10 children die at the hands Of the people closest to them. Between 2008 and 2009, 13,315 children under five were admitted to hospital for conditions that could have been avoided and 1286 were admitted because of assault, neglect or maltreatment.

Against this background, the government launched its Green Paper for Vulnerable Children, in Auckland last month, a controversial plan to address New Zealand's horrific child abuse rate. The discussion document raises a number of controversial issues, including mandatory reporting of abuse, prioritising state resources to parents and the sharing of private information between health, social welfare and education professionals.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett believes "this is the most important debate this country can have." The paper is open for eight months of public submissions.

Following the consultation period, a White Paper and Children's Action Plan will be developed to influence future government policy.

Among the questions asked are whether vulnerable children should be monitored and by whom (that may include a database of at-risk kids), and whether people want to see more resources focused on the early intervention for vulnerable children. The paper also discusses the need for legislative changes and the importance of community and Maori involvement.

Opponents, including the Labour Party and Women's Refuge, have called for more action and less talk over the issue. Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the paper would not address the root causes of child abuse, which resulted from poverty and deprivation.

NZNO has welcomed the opportunity to be consulted on the issue but is disappointed at the lengthy delay before any government action is taken. It is concerned the Green Paper may not do enough to raise children out of poverty or stop child abuse.

"Nurses are calling on the Government to take action now to improve the lives and well-being of our vulnerable children. The issue of abuse and neglect of children is a stark everyday reality for nurses, midwives and other health professionals working with children and families," said NZNO professional nursing adviser Kate Weston.

"The Government already knows what the problems are and it knows what to do about them. It is clear cross-sector solutions must be implemented urgently."

The Plunket Society has called the Green Paper "a great opportunity for all New Zealanders to discuss what we, as a society, can do to improve life for our most vulnerable citizens" The Green Paper can be downloaded from or from Submissions close on February 28, 2012.
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