Why our babies are still dying at our hands

By Te Ao - Māori News

Nine children have been killed allegedly at the hands of a caregiver or family member, since January this year - That’s one every five weeks.

Independent child abuse advocacy and training provider Child Matters says New Zealand is not making any progress in protecting its tamariki.

Chief executive Jane Searle puts these high death rates down to three things: “I think that our government agencies and our systems are still not fit for purpose. Secondly, we’re still not resourcing our community organizations to offer that support, and thirdly our communities need to be more courageous in the conversations that we’re having.  

Child Matters is New Zealand's only national charitable trust dedicated to the prevention of child abuse, and Searle says that the problem is only getting worse in Aotearoa, with reports that Oranga Tamariki receives 10 calls an hour, 87,000 calls a year, about the safety of children.

“We talk about the children who lost their lives, which is tragic, but what we don’t talk about is the thousands who are suffering serious abuse every day in this country.”

Searle concludes this issue will persist until serious changes are made, including better resourcing and training for community organisations.

"At a political level in Wellington, we also need to be honest with ourselves about how far we haven't come, instead of trying to put a political spin on it."