Shocking case of child abuse
December 21, 2011 § 4 Comments
Most people think of New Zealand as a wonderful place to live: beautiful scenery, friendly people, laid-back lifestyle. And for the most part, they would be right.
However, New Zealand has a shockingly high level of child abuse, and many disturbing cases have made the news over the past few years.
Today, I read this article about a 10-year-old girl who last year was found hiding in a cupboard in her home.
She had been starved, dehydrated, was bruised, suffered broken bones and anaemia from internal bleeding, as well as having her scalp half torn off.
The girl, along with her younger brother, submitted written statements to the court during their parent’s trial.
The young boy, aged 8, insisted that his statement be read out. It goes as follows:
“I was hurt for a long time so I think they [his parents] should stay where they are for a long time too.
There is nothing nice about my mum. I can’t think of any good things. I can think of lots of bad things. I don’t know why I was hit so much but I think it was because I wasn’t good enough.”
The mother has been sent to jail for seven and a half years.
The Kahui Twins
Unfortunately, these sorts of cases are not uncommon in New Zealand.
One that stands out for me is that of Cris and Cru Kahui; twin boys, who were brought into Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital with severe head injuries in 2006.
The three-month year old boys later died in hospital. They were found to have suffered skull fracture and blunt force trauma.
Their father, Chris, was arrested for their murder, but was acquitted by a jury.
New Zealanders were shocked by this case, and there was general feeling (as there rightly should be) that this should never happen again. That has not been the case.
The Ugly Statistics
Last March the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed concern at New Zealand’s high rates of child abuse. And it is unsurprising when you read statistics like this:
-a 2003 UNICEF report found that New Zealand had one of the worst rates of child death from maltreatment (physical abuse and neglect) among rich OECD countries
– since Cris and Cru Kahui died in 2006, Child Youth and Family (CYF) has reported that at least 92,500 have been abused.
– in 2011, 166 children have been put on a ‘abused’ list by staff at Starship Hospital, up from 157 last year
– CYF’s notifications of child abuse have more than doubled in the past five years to 150,747
All of this paints a grim picture of the state of child abuse in New Zealand.
As a human being I find it bad enough. Being a New Zealander I find it incredibly distressing.
I grew up in a loving, caring home. Why can’t that happen for all children?
I can only hope that out of the media attention and coverage that something good comes out of this – that the government and societal organisations step up and do something to change these statistics.