The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Child Abuse, Our national Shame

Posted by pauaprincess on July 30, 2007

Dr Liz Segedin of Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital intensive care unit last night said up to one child a month was being admitted to the hospital with brain injury as a result of abuse.

“We know it’s high; we know it’s a national scandal – or should be,” she said. “It’s extremely distressing when we hear absolute nonsense stories [about what happened to the child] that we know are not true.”

This, after a second child in a week, this time a 12 week old baby boy was flown to Auckland on a Life flight from Rotorua.

Later today 4 of the 5 accused in the Nia Glassie case appeared in a packed court today in Rotorua and were remanded in custody until August 8th when bail applications will be heard.

Prime Minister Helen Clark appeared on TVNZ’s Breakfast this morning condemning the abuse and calling on people to act when they knew of abuse.

“I cannot believe that a child subjected to that level of horror, sadism, torture — that nobody knew,” she said. “I can’t believe that and people have got to start turning in those who frankly are maiming and killing our children.”

Meanwhile, ex Work and Income boss Christine Rankin (she of the large and garish earrings) is calling for an independent enquiry into the level of child abuse in NZ.

Excuse me for yawning but I have heard this all before. Every time a child dies at the hands of it’s parents and caregivers. MP’s put on concerned faces, Maori Leaders deplore their high statistics. Cyfs leadership appears on the news agreeing something must be done!

Yes, something must be done, sitting in a tv studio and yapping about it endlessly to reporters, is however, not doing anything. Enacting legislation like anti spanking laws, certainly gives the appearance of doing something, but quite frankly it’s not, here are two children already, one a mere 12 weeks old, who were not protected by the legislation. Any woman with a protection order can tell you that court ordered piece of paper never prevented their spouse assaulting them.

Higher Sentencing has already been mooted, but if you look at America’s death row figures, you have to ask yourself if the death penalty doesn’t prevent murder, what will a few extra years in prison achieve?

The majority of us, do not abuse our children. We don’t get our jollies stuffing them into tumble dryers or pegging them to clothes lines and spinning them till they fly off. We don’t shake our babies or hit them for crying. We know better than to do that, it’s not a matter of being afraid of getting caught, it’s not a matter of the prospect of incarceration, we just know better!

From Helen Clarks statement, one could assume she expects society as a whole to be responsible for alerting the authorities to cases of child abuse. We already have a framework in place for that to happen after all. However, CYFS (Child Youth and Family) is regarded with fear and suspicion for it’s heavy handed approach and complete ineptitude with regard to its care and provision for children. The public have no faith.

Perhaps the likes of Aunty Helen and Sue Bradford should cast their net a little closer to home and reform CYFS instead of forcing crap, toothless legislation upon parents, so that it can be the child protection agency it is meant to be. That way perhaps people would feel comfortable and responsibly report suspected abuse.

Maybe instead of cutting loose abused children at 17, CYFS should be referring them on to an agency that would follow them into proper adulthood, addressing ongoing issues that arise from their abusive childhoods, ensuring they become responsible, non abusive parents. So when they appear in court, blaming their rotten childhoods for their criminal behavior, it can be shown that they were given every opportunity to rise above it. I’d be happy to see my tax dollars spent that way.

In short, perhaps if the Government stopped plowing money into ridiculous causes and departments with an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff mentality and actually provided agencies that actually did their jobs properly, with integrity,care and responsibility, instead of wringing their hands in the national media….

We could all work together to stop the cycle of abuse.

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