Government inaction letting our children down

They are our country’s future. They are our mokopuna, or children, the ones who delight and terrorise their parents and make grandparents proud. But you would not know it from how we treat them, how a few of our number show the most utter and degrading contempt and yet have the brazen gall to appeal sentences for child abuse and negligence that they 100% deserved.

Over the years numerous Governments departments have conducted inquiries into aspects of child abuse concerning them. Reports to Parliament have been commissioned. Calls have been made by many for a Royal Commission of Inquiry, which some seem to think will somehow be the magical break through needed to address one of the darkest, most shocking aspects of life in New Zealand with an appalling rate of incidents.

The United Nations has sent officials to investigate our abuse. Amnesty International and other organizations have made submissions on it in the United Nations Periodic Review. Both have been rightfully scathing.

But rather than waste money on an inquiry by the Government that will achieve stuff all, I have a better idea. I am going to suggest that the answer is actually implementing the recommendations of past inquiries. How many inquiries have we had and how many had their recommendations implemented? Will it save lives? I do not know. But I know that doing nothing will certainly not save lives.

So, here is a report that Parliament published in 2013. If you look at the key recommendations that start on page 4 of section 1.6A you will notice that there is a suggestion that at least some of the findings be implemented within 12 months of the report being published. I have no idea how many have been, but on the basis of actually doing something constructive instead of another report, perhaps implementing them as far as possible would be a good start.

Here is the page for another inquiry that was done by the Police in 2009. It covers the Police handling of child abuse cases, procedures and policies. A range of recommendations were made to the Police for areas that they could improve their handling in that can be found in this Police media release.

The biggest problem with the abuses is simply getting politicians to act. Simply getting Ministers and the Government they represent on the day to own the problem and actively try to do something about it is easier said than done – “oh, we need another report, another inquiry done – we need to be certain of the nature of the problem”.

No. No you don’t need another report. You don’t need another inquiry. It would just waste time, money and effort that could actually be invested in dealing with the problem.

Or am I just talking too much common sense here?



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