Tokoroa figures for child abuse ‘alarming’
Alarming figures on the number of child abuse cases in Tokoroa have been obtained by the South Waikato News.
The statistics from the Ministry of Social Development show in the year to June 2010 there were 11 cases of sexual abuse, 53 cases of physical abuse and 182 cases of emotional abuse proven by authorities.
Some of these cases involved the same child suffering multiple forms of abuse.
In the same period 25 children were put into care and protection placements for the first time.
For the 12 months from July 2008 to June 2009 the ministry reported 18 cases of sexual abuse, 31 cases of physical abuse and 73 cases of emotional abuse against children.
Taupo MP Louis Upston is appalled at the rates of child abuse in the South Waikato District.
‘‘I am disgusted at the level of abuse that is going on in our community and across the country. New Zealand leads most OECD countries in beating, abusing and neglecting our own children. This is a problem we all need to focus on.’’
Mrs Upston, who has spent time patrolling the streets of Tokoroa with the town’s police, said there hade been some new initiatives that help police combat violence.
‘‘I saw first hand the benefits of on the spot protection orders. I saw with my own eyes how this initiative saves women and children in our community from
violence. ‘‘We must ensure no one turns a blind eye to child abuse. We must look out for neglect in our communities and in our schools. We must place a top priority on the protection and safety of the children,’’ Mrs Upston said.
Tokoroa’s Detective Sergeant Kevan Verry has investigated a number of high profile cases including the death of Putaruru toddler Tyla Maree Flynn.
At an inquest into TylaMaree’s death last year, Mr Verry told the court that at times 50 per cent of cases Tokoroa detectives were investigating were of child abuse.
He said that due to the large volume of child abuse cases a special taskforce was created to handle the workload.
‘‘Working on murders and child abuse cases has to be the hidden side of what a police officer does and it affects all of the team in some way or another.
‘‘I am a father and have two young children and could associate easily with the dis- tress Lisa (Tyla’s mother) felt not only when she found her daughter seriously hurt but also when she died.
‘‘The satisfying part about being a detective is working through all the trauma and putting the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together to provide answers to the family as well as hold those persons responsible accountable.’’
The high mortality rate of children and infants in New Zealand has been deemed in a United Nations report as ‘‘staggering.’’
National figures show that abuse against children has increased.
In the 12 months to June 2010 compared with the 12 months to June 2009 the number of sexually abused children jumped from 1126 to 1201. Physical abuse cases increased by 11 cases from 2855 to 2886 and emotionally abused children had a significant rise from 10938 to 12535.
South Waikato District mayor Neil Sinclair wants to encourage the community to speak out.
‘‘As a community we need to remember that child abuse in any form is not acceptable.
‘‘ I encourage people to report any suspicious situation where they think a child may be suffering abuse; it is better to speak out (and be wrong) than be right and regret not saying anything.
‘‘We are all neighbours and I believe we have a caring community that needs to look out for each other and our future generations,’’ Mr Sinclair said.