Editorial: We need to speak against abuse

By Dylan Thorne

Child Youth and Family figures show more than 5500 reports about the welfare of children in the Western Bay last year.

It's a disturbingly high number and equates to a 141.6 per cent increase over the past five years.

Of the reports, 2193 required further action and 831 were recorded as substantiated abuse.

The spike in reports does reflect a positive change in our society. It shows more people are unwilling to turn a blind eye to abuse.

CYF Bay of Plenty operational manager Tayelva Petley says the increase in reports reflects a greater willingness in the community to report concerns about a child's welfare rather than a rise in abuse.

The agency has worked closely with police to encourage people to report suspected child abuse and it appears their hard work is paying off.

"Communities are more educated. Schools and health agencies are more in tune with indicators of abuse.

"In Tauranga, the community has really, really stepped up," she says.

This was not always the case, people often felt they should not interfere in another family's affairs.

This attitude was mirrored by the country's dreadful domestic violence record and high-profile child abuse cases: twins Cris and Cru Kahui, James Whakaruru, Coral-Ellen Burrows, sisters Olympia Jetson and Saliel Aplin and Rotorua's Nia Glassie.

The message that families and neighbours shouldn't turn a blind eye to abuse is getting through.

A wall of silence will not help a child who is being abused.

People need to speak out.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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