The many faces of innocents
Moko Rangitoheriri’s death provoked incensed citizens to march in the streets, demanding answers and accountability from the family, the community and the authorities.
Subjected to horrendous abuse from David Haerewa and Tania Shailer, Moko could never be called lucky. But the public grief caused by his death means he will never be forgotten.
Many other child victims are denied a lasting legacy. They are remembered only by those who knew them in their too-short lives. Children like Agnes Ali’iva’a, Aaliyah Solomon and Juwairiyah Kalim from Auckland
Our Faces of Innocents project, launched last year, created a public memorial to child victims of abuse, neglect or maltreatment.
The project expands to commemorate more of the 209 children lost in the last 25 years and to introduce a new concept: the Child Victim Toll.
We cannot pretend that any one policy, community initiative, or even all the money in the world will stop all innocent children from dying. But we can ensure this issue has an unflagging focus.
The Child Victim Toll is based on our database of every child victim since 1992. Assembled and updated by our reporters, it is the first and only public source of its kind.
Last year, our database recorded 14 children who died. In 2009, the worst year on our record, the child victim toll was 17.
The toll is an imperfect measure. Despite our extensive investigations, some children will have escaped notice.
We hope this toll will inspire more New Zealanders to act: to learn about the scale of the problem; volunteer to help children at risk; donate to support an agency working to prevent child abuse; and report any signs of possible abuse.
For Moko, Agnes, Aaliyah, Juwairiyah and every child victim, we say: we must not accept an inexorable rise in the number of Faces of Innocents.
For more or ways you can be involved go to stuff.co.nz.
Moko Rangitoheriri’s death was subject to horrendous abuse.