Monday, March 23, 2009

Mandatory child abuse reporting

Did I miss something?

In respect of the commerce select committee holding an inquiry into finance company collapse and what might be achieved with law change ...

... Dalziel said the country had made it mandatory to report child abuse. There was an argument for thinking along similar lines in finance.

Say what?

According to the Ministry of Health;

Is it mandatory to report abuse?
In New Zealand, it is not mandatory to report partner and child abuse.

It is surprising that Dalziel could make such a considerable error (if she has been correctly reported.) I hope it is hers and not mine. Mandatory child abuse reporting is a bad idea. More law, more criminalisation, fewer people using their brains.


Anonymous said...
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luggage79 said...

"Mandatory child abuse reporting is a bad idea. More law, more criminalisation, fewer people using their brains." less law and less criminalization are more desirable than the attempt to save kids from abuse? Don't you think that somebody who sees children be abused and doesn't report it should see some consequences?

luggage79 said...

oh, and how exactly does mandatory child abuse reporting lead to "fewer people using their brain"?

Lindsay Mitchell said...

The idea has been resisted in respect of the general population because there are fish hooks.

The legally accepted definition of 'abuse' is now very broad. If mandatory reporting was enforced many people would be unable to do their jobs. How do you work constructively with someone who may be committing a 'mild' form of abuse if you are required to report them? Already a large percentage of reports made to Child Youth and Family are rejected after investigation. To remove children from low level abuse may be more damaging. So judgement and discretion are required - using one's brain.

Certainly there are some organisations which require health professionals etc to report evidence of physical abuse. That is another matter.

luggage79 said...

Abuse is abuse - even if it is a 'mild' form of it (however you want to define that one).

"If mandatory reporting was enforced many people would be unable to do their jobs."
I don't get your logic here. We should not be forced to report child abuse because it might make us uncomfortable to work with somebody who does abuse their children? I don't know...the knowledge that somebody abuses their kids makes me MUCH more uncomfortable than the thought that I will have to report them.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Abuse, especially psychological, can be difficult for a lay person to define. If you report someone for whatever you decide it is, how do you maintain the relationship with the parent and continue to work to improve the situation for the child? Do you risk worsening the situation for the child by driving the parent 'underground'? Do you worsen the situation for the child by increasing the stress level of the parent? People aren't exactly queueing up to take 'abused' children into their homes. Especially if they have children of their own. The situation is just not as black and white as you would like it to be.

luggage79 said...

"If you report someone for whatever you decide it is, how do you maintain the relationship with the parent and continue to work to improve the situation for the child?"

I don't think you will need much of a relationship with an abusive parent to improve the situation for the child. It's the child you should be concerned for, not the parents or yourself.

Also, I'm not convinced by your argument that we shouldn't increase the stress level of an abusive parent because that could worsen the situation for the child. Are you implying that child abuse is solely caused by those poor stressed out parents loosing it now and then?

I don't really see your problem here. You report the abusive parent. People trained to spot abuse and deal with the effects of it have a look at the case. No black and white. Just a look at how a child is being treated. I think that's only fair.

I don't advocate running around suspecting each and every parent of abuse, physical, emotional or psychological. But I do think that by making child abuse reporting mandatory people might start to see that it really ISN'T okay to look away just because it's more convenient.

I am one of those kids who had a lot of abuse going on and who would have been REALLY glad if one of the many grown-ups who saw what was going on had gone to the police or youth care instead of being scared to speak up against what seemed to be an upright member of society.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

More than 200 paedophiles spared jail - with offenders let off with only a caution

Eric Cole: Told to buy six-year-old girl he sexually abused a bicycle

More than 200 other's paedophiles who abused vulnerable young children escaped with only a slap on the wrist, it emerged last night.
Well known Bloggers like Tim Ireland from were deported back to the UK After sex holiday's abroad, bring shame on the UK .Cautions were handed out over a period of three years to perverts aged 21 or older ho raped, assaulted or had sexual activity with a child under 13.
In 2007 alone, 64 escaped with the simple ticking-off - which spares them a court appearance or the prospect of jail. That is more than double the figure for 2003, which was 23.

The total number of cautions between 2005 and 2007 was an alarming 206 - more than 65 a year. And over the past five year's over 900 Brit's were deported after sex holiday's.
The Tories said the 'shocking' figures made a mockery of the Government's repeated pledges to be tough on child-sex attackers.
Even when the paedophiles are taken to court, many are given only a community punishment.
In 2007, the latest period for which figures are available, 145 offenders aged 21 or over were convicted of sexual activity with a child aged under 13.
Of these, 35 received community sentences and 13 a suspended prison sentence, three were 'otherwise dealt with' and only 94 were given immediate custody.
When the 64 perverts who received cautions are added to the total, it means a shocking 54 per cent of those adults guilty of attacking children were spared prison.
Tory justice spokesman Dominic Grieve said: 'Ministers regularly make loud announcements - amidst great fanfare - about cracking down on paedophiles.
'Yet when it comes to taking action, these figures show that 30 per cent of those convicted of sexual offences against children get off with just a slap on the wrist.
'The public will be shocked to learn that law enforcement is at its most lax in protecting the most vulnerable in our society.'
The most alarming aspect of the revelations is that the figures explicitly relate to attacks on young children by adults. Normally, cases of sex offenders escaping with a slap on the wrist involve offenders who are themselves children-or 16- to 19-year-olds having sex with underage boys or girls.
Critics will point to the pressure on prosecutors to meet Whitehall targets. Issuing a caution allows the case to be classed as solved without the need for a court case.
The Ministry of Justice said: 'Cautions are not appropriate for serious offences but in some cases it might not be in the public interest to put a young victim through the trauma of a trial.'
A spokesman said that a caution meant the offender was placed on the sex offenders' register for two years and was part of their criminal record. Other cases like sex crimes abroad and computer crimes are never looked into due to police man power.

Asian Online news service.

koyal said...

The Medical Council of New Zealand, the Council for Social Workers and the New Zealand Council do not have mandatory child abuse reporting policies, and so in actual fact support crime against children.i worked at the belfast north mediqual doctors in christchurch...a child came with sex abuse...i reported it to my supervisor dr chen-green...she declined to report this...3 months later he came back with 18 fractures.....this was reported to the medical council, the council for social work in christchurch, members of parliament including nicky wagner, dalziel, tim barnett, brendon burns, jim anderton, ruth the minister for social affairs,,,the governor general of NZ, the health minister tony rial...noone wants to take responsibility for this child , even give him compensation....another case was a child at the same clinic who was raped at 16 years of age, once again the doctors running this clinic declined to report this...2 days later ths child tried to commit suicide but was saved by the christchurch general hospital...these are public cases and have been talked about nationally and internationally as to what christchurch people who are against the mandatory reporting of child abuse fail to see that neither the medical council (they declined to investigate these cases), nor the nursing or social work council take responsibility...dr cindy kiro the then children's commissioner declined to look into these cases reported to her...the office of the children's commissioner is so a farce and a waste of teh tax payers member of parliament from ch ch is willing to take responsibility for the children of christchurch.....they can get abused, have 18 fractures ..commit suicide...the medical council thinks it is ok, the health ministers office thinks this is ok....without mandatory reporting, the green paper for children is a farce and in breach of the bill of rights.....look forward to comments on these 2 cases...should we not have mandatory reporting .....
koyal ....International Centre for the ADvocacy for Children