Battered babies tough
There are few sights more disturbing than a child’s body on a mortuary slab.
Detective Inspector Craig Scott has sat through plenty of postmortems in his career but seeing a baby wheeled out was the worst. The six-week-old was still wearing a nappy and booties.
New Zealand is one of the most dangerous countries in the developed world in which to grow up.
An average of nine children each year die of abuse, maltreatment or neglect.
With 32 child protection cases opened every day in New Zealand, they’re part of the job for most detectives.
Scott agrees the country has a problem but says we’re facing up to it.
It’s easy to get into the ‘‘blame game’’ but it’s not always helpful.
A ‘‘whole lot of good work being done by a whole lot of agencies’’ has led to a reduction in assault-related child hospitalisations – from 168 in 2000 to 145 in 2014.
New Zealand’s problem of child abuse is inextricable from family violence, he says. A history of family violence is a red flag when it comes to prioritising a file.
‘‘One of the best predictors of the future is past behaviour. If they’ve been violent in the past to their partner or their partner’s children that’s probably the best risk indicator.’’