Staff from Hamilton-based national child advocacy organisation, Child Matters, have noted a drop in the number of substantiated child abuse cases as reported by Child, Youth and Family (CYF) for the year ending June.
In reports recently released by CYF, the total number of substantiated cases of child abuse in New Zealand decreased by 559 last year.
Child Matters spokesperson Amanda Meynell, academic services manager, said earlier this month that it is planning to hold its second annual Buddy Day on November 16 - a public participation event aimed at raising awareness of child abuse and the role that every adult has in keeping children safe.
"It certainly is pleasing to see the number of substantiated cases of child abuse declining over the past year. However, we mustn't lose sight that there is still a significant number of children experiencing abuse and neglect," she says.
"New Zealand still has one of the highest rates of death by child abuse out of 31 OECD countries. And for every child death, there are thousands more being neglected and abused physically, sexually and emotionally.
"When every adult takes responsibility for keeping our children safe, our society has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of all children and families affected by abuse," she says.
Child Matters began Buddy Day last year with the purpose of raising awareness of the issue of child abuse, so that more people take action to speak up when they believe a child is in danger.
The main Buddy Day event is in Hamilton on November 16. However, Child Matters is providing "event kits" for purchase online to allow all New Zealanders to participate in the awareness day this year.
Buddy Day is focused around life-size cardboard children - "Buddies" - who are decorated by pupils from schools and child care centres in the Waikato area before the event and then cared for by adults who look after the Buddies for the day.
The substantiated cases of child abuse in the Waikato region have decreased from 1806 to 1683. The organisers of Buddy Day have adjusted their planned number of Buddies to be decorated and cared for this year in Hamilton as a result of these new numbers released by CYF.
"We will have 335 Buddies participating in Buddy Day this year, which represents 20 per cent of the 1683 substantiated cases of child abuse in our region," says Buddy Day event manager, Janine Evans. In 2011, 180 Buddies were decorated and cared for, which represented 10 per cent of last year's substantiated cases.
Hamilton people interested in participating in Buddy Day 2012 can sign up online to either decorate or care for Buddies at www.buddyday.org.nz.
Buddy Day kits are available for purchase online this month for people interested in participating in the event.
Hamilton-based Gallagher Group is the primary sponsor of Buddy Day 2012, while other sponsors include Longveld Engineering, PSP Ltd, Verdict Communications, Montana Catering and Convex Plastics.