Protecting kids the number one priority

Published: Tue 13 Aug 2013 12:44 PM
Protecting kids the number one priority
Moves by the Government to strengthen child protection laws offer a platform for some robust discussion on how to better look after vulnerable Kiwi kids, Labour’s acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.
“Protecting children remains Labour's absolute priority.
“Child abuse is both sickening and appalling. Every New Zealander would support measures to prevent it happening. We all want the same outcome.
“There are a number of proposals announced today that are worthwhile, including legislating to make Government departments accountable for protecting children. Screening and vetting processes for Government employees working with children are also sensible.
“The child protection policies to increase the reporting of abuse are significant, but they will only work if staff are trained to recognise child abuse in the first place.
“The Child Harm Prevention Orders outlined today are potentially heavy-handed. They significantly change the way our justice system works. There are fish-hooks in the proposal. For example we would want to ensure it couldn’t be misused in any relationship break-up.
“The Prime Minister’s chief science advisor, Professor Peter Gluckman, has repeatedly warned Parliament that it should base policy on good evidence.
“For the sake of our kids, it is important to open up this discussion. Let’s look at the evidence, hear the experts who work in the field, and let the public have their say.
“We need to hear the evidence and be assured the proposals will work.”

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