18 November 2008
Justice finally comes for Nia Glassie, Children’s Commissioner
While it in no way compensates for the loss of Nia Glassie’s life, today’s guilty verdicts mean that in this case at
least, some justice has occurred, Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro said today.
“Media coverage of this court case has made for gruelling reading and the testimony of child witnesses was chilling for
the stark way they told of the atrocities going on in Nia Glassie’s home. Most disturbing was that they saw this abusive
behaviour as normal,” Dr Kiro said.
“Through the court case it became evident that a number of adults, both family members and neighbours, were aware of the
neglect and abuse Nia was subject to. That they didn’t speak out in time is something they will have to live with.
“Family, friends and neighbours need to step up if they know, or even if they think, children are in danger. They need
to call the Police or Child, Youth and Family.
“We have seen too many crimes where family and friends close rank and Police are unable to successfully prosecute people
who kill children. At least in this case people have spoken out. It is sad that this case has ended in a week that marks
the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse, tomorrow (19 November).
“After cases such as this the blame game begins. While ultimately responsibility rests with the person or people who
take the life of a child, or children, that we tolerate child abuse and neglect is an indictment on our society.
“New Zealand has a high tolerance to violence and much of the violence towards children is perpetrated in the name of
discipline. There are no acceptable ways of hitting children.
“To protect children we need to focus on quality parenting, reducing poverty to ensure people raising children have
enough income and quality housing, and making available appropriate services that are responsive to the needs of
children and their families at the earliest opportunity.
“Solving New Zealand’s child abuse problem involves having professionals in health, education and child protection able
to easily share information about children at risk. Child abusers are often very clever at working around systems. They
move house a lot, never let the child see a doctor more than once, move the child from school to school and generally
have ways of avoiding getting a record that establishes patterns of worrying behaviour.
“Parenting is a tough job. But there are a number of organisations that offer advice or information including Plunket,
Barnardos, SKIP (Strategies for kids, information for parents) and Parents Centres New Zealand. Most communities run
some kind of parenting courses. However, people have to be proactive in seeking this advice and support by picking up
the telephone, visiting one of these offices in their area, or searching on the Internet for courses that might suit