Calls for child monitoring in New Zealand

2011-08-25 17:06

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Wellington - The death of a 3-year-old girl who was put into a tumble dryer and swung on a rotary outdoor clothesline has prompted a New Zealand coroner to call for state spot checks on all children up to the age of 5 to counter abuse.

Wallace Bain, coroner in the North Island city of Rotorua, said violent child abuse was the "most shameful problem" facing the nation, news reports said on Thursday.

He said checks were necessary to avoid a repeat of the "horrific" death of the 3-year-old who died in August 2007 after being abused and ill-treated by members of her extended family looking after her while her mother worked.

Nia Glassie died in hospital after being kicked in the head by two brothers who are serving life sentences for her murder.

Details of how they treated the child were revealed at their trial and repeated at the inquest.

The coroner said, "I have never had to endure such horrendous evidence which led to the death of this little girl in horrific circumstances," Rotorua's Daily Post newspaper reported. "My earnest wish is that no one ever has to experience that again."

Monitor welfare parents

He also called for all solo parents receiving welfare benefits to be monitored to ensure the safety of their children.

Calling child abuse an epidemic, the coroner said, "This may be seen as a drastic step, but the continuous abuse of New Zealand's children calls for nothing less.

"In my view, it is the biggest, most shameful problem facing our nation, and that is the fatal abuse of children, quite often Maori children."

Bain said the child's mother, who is serving a nine-year prison sentence for manslaughter for her neglect of the girl, had previously come to the attention of authorities and, had the family been monitored, Nia could have been saved.

- SAPA
Read more on:    new zealand  |  child abuse
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