The fact that our children and young people are being subjected to increased abuse is sad and disturbing, says the Commissioner for Children, Judge Francis Avers.
Avers ’comment is when the abuse of New Zealand children in state care continues to grow.
Aranga Tamarika’s new report on the safety of children in care says that in 2020-21 alone, nearly 500 were affected.
Reported statistics are an indictment against the aid system, says Avers.
“At a time when the state needs to improve results for our youth, we as a country are moving backwards.
“Behind every statistic is a macapuna, a child who is injured or wounded, and a family, vans, under stress, and that’s a shame.
“I am particularly concerned that physical harm has increased in the context of young people’s physical limitations, often when there is no mandate to use force and often seizures have been misused and the young person has suffered as a result or was used illegally by staff.”
Avers says that as part of her mandate as commissioner, she will ask Aranga Tamariki to report further on the extent of the harm the children are experiencing.
“I look forward to this dialogue,” she said.
Abandonment of state care at home does not mean children will be safer, the report said. Statistics on parental physical harm have not improved.
Shameful report statistics
- 289 children received 344 cases of physical injuries
- 183 children received 252 cases of emotional damage
- 77 people suffered 88 cases of sexual assault
- 58 cases of neglect in 34 children
- 27 cases of harm to teenagers by employees of apartment buildings they restrained.
- Children over the age of 10 did more harm than younger.
- The Maori and the Pacific suffered disproportionately.
According to the independent Baby monitor (ICM), Oranga Tamariki fully complied with only two percent of the time in all 12 of its own practice requirements. It met six or more practice requirements in three-quarters of the time.
The ICM says Oranga Tamariki’s poor self-control makes it impossible to determine his performance.
“In almost two-thirds of cases, Tamariki do not visit as often as indicated in their plan. This means that there can be no opportunity to continue assessing their safety, well-being, and health and education needs. ”
The agency cannot report Tamarika’s access to health services, whether or not they are informed and understand their rights; whether educators receive appropriate training and information about the Tamariks they care for.
The Whakarongo Mai children’s advocacy group has similar concerns.
It also notes that “important assessments of well-being, including cultural, health (physical and mental) and the transition to independence are largely incomplete.”
Where from here
Avers says domestic violence, education and mental well-being are key priorities for her as the Commissioner for Children.
“I will provide a laser focus in my advocacy in this area.
“Our macapuns, our children deserve better. The publication of this report is an alarming call for us as a country to solve this huge problem. “