Advocacy group calls for intervention to reduce child abuse

The AM Show 28/03/2018

Reports of alleged child abuse regularly hit the headlines in New Zealand, with the arrests made in Auckland just this week. 

Police arrested two people in relation to a four-month-old Auckland baby found with 16 fractures, which police believe were inflicted over time. 

On average one child is killed every five weeks.

Sensible Sentencing Trust's (SST) National Spokesman for Child Abuse Scott Guthrie told The AM Show that the solution to ending child abuse is “pretty simple”. 

“Child abuse is not going to fix itself in this country unless we have intervention,” Mr Guthrie said.

SST suggests sending trained professionals into a child’s home, rather than waiting for the child to come to a doctor’s check-up.

“Throwing money at these families is not going to work,” he said. “It is actually going to ignite the problem.

Mr Guthrie pointed out that alcohol and drug abuse are predominant in child abuse cases.

“The money is not going to get spent where it should.”

While he believes New Zealand has learned a lot in the past 20 years, he places blame on politicians who “don’t want to do anything about it.”

Child abuse headlines have prompted calls for the right to silence to be stripped from anyone police want to talk to in child abuse investigations.

Both victims advocate Ruth Money and the SST have called on the Government to change the law, arguing that parents of alleged abuse should be charged if they don’t talk.

Mr Guthrie says SST will continue their fight to get politicians to listen. 

“[Justice Minister] Andrew Little, you need to start listening because we’re going to start talking.”

Watch the full interview with Scott Guthriw above. 

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.