Monday, July 30, 2007

child abuse - Office of the Children's Commissioner should be disbanded

Its all well and good Prime Minister Helen Clark waffling on today on Breakfast TV about how bad child abuse - particularly Maori child abuse - is, and how sentences are not long enough. During the smacking debate a prominent MP said " the signal we are sending today is that child abuse is unacceptable".

And you know, it was just a signal. A bit like a statement of intent - meaning "we`d really like this to happen but we probably won't put anything in place to make it happen unless we really need to". We have a Children's Commissioner who is Maori who is not even making substantial comment on what to do about child abuse. She says we need decent investment in programmes.

What programmes? Sterilisation programmes, parenting programmes, or politically correct half-arsed programmes that comes from her office? I spoke with the Children's Commissioner today and asked her to investigate these latest cases, as she is able to do under the Children's Commissioner Act, but she wasn't prepared to commit to doing that. She seems totally unwilling to do any investigative work whatsoever. A good start would be to adhere to the Childrens Commissioner Act and immediately refer such cases to CYFS for investigation or investigate yourselves. To date the OCC has done neither in the Rotorua cases. Thats how slack child abuse investigation is in this country. Too busy talking about investment in programmes than to investigate real child abuse.

Sensible Sentencing Trust's Kelly Te Heuheu is calling child abuse a race issue. Common denominators in most of our child abuse cases are that they are Maori, their parents are are not married or living together, and they are on welfare or very low incomes. While I do agree that Maori elders need to front up, I also agree that the Office of the Children's Commissioner also needs to stop producing useless reportsfrom her office and front up to issues, investigate child abuse cases - or the commission should be disbanded for failing to adequately address child rights.
updateHowever, given that several people from the OCC have visited this site today, they may wish to advise if since this post was written, the two Rotorua cases have been referred for investigation or a decision has been made not to investigate. Then the post can be updated.


peasant said...

Skimmed through that "useless report" and it is not useless; it is an underhanded scheme to monitor EVERY child in NZ .. to ensure the next generation of taxpayers will be able to support the infernal State. These people are foul.. using every platitude to advance their own domain at the expense of the people they are menat to SERVE

James Skipper said...

At least we all agree that child abuse is disgusting, unlike in the s59 debate, where the horrid conservative-religious right were desperately fighting for the right to beat their kids. Personally, I feel proud to have the people we trust, like the PM and the Commissioner, recognising problems and putting the message out there to the public - that child abuse is NOT acceptable. It upsets me that the media are paying more attention to people who were the s59 poster campaigners representing those from the conservative right who insist in this debate on playing the blame game.

What needs to happen is that we need to stop bickering and start acting to stop violence. Perhaps petitioning the government to expand the capabilities and resources of the organisations responsible for advocating for our kids is a start???

On that note, Dave you say that you asked Ms Kiro to investigate the latest cases. I went and took a look at the Children's Commisioner Act and point out s18(2) which restricts the Commissioner to investigating only after these cases have been decided in Court.

So I guess there's more to the Children's Commissioner Act than you suggest?

If you're going to debate this credibly, all of the information needs to be put on the table - the good and the bad. Otherwise you're just adding to the rhetoric that you accuse of others.

Dave said...

while the commissioner cannot investigate courts or tribunals -or their decisions they must refer any investigation to CYFS without delay, if the OCC office decides not to do it.
And my conversation with the OCC revealed that they were to refer this onto CYFS. They hadn't. THeres a delay. Law broken.

But, James, an investigation can be commenced BEFORE it goes to court - as many do. You unhelpfully missed that bit out. In fact S26 of the Act says The Commissioner may regulate the procedure for any investigation under this Act in any manner, not inconsistent with legislation.

Dave said...

and a referal to cyfs usually occurs before a case goes to court

ZenTiger said...

s59 debate, where the horrid conservative-religious right were desperately fighting for the right to beat their kids.

You mean 70% of the country? Who were debating that equating a smack to child abuse was only diverting us from the real issues of abuse, and simultaneously confusing the issue of discipline by good parents with targeting the real culprits?

Child abuse is not acceptable. But how are we to stop bickering if you come out with crap like that, and expect people who hold a different opinion (smack <> abuse) to sit there and take your abuse?

And given Dave's counter point, do you agree he is debating this "credibly" or do you wish to continue with your bickering?