CYF appalled by abuse to girl hiding in cupboard

By Elizabeth Binning

The abuse suffered by the little girl means she is likely to need regular counselling for the rest of her life. Photo / APN
The abuse suffered by the little girl means she is likely to need regular counselling for the rest of her life. Photo / APN

A 9-year-old girl found by police hiding in a wardrobe had suffered so much abuse that almost every part of her body was covered in injuries, including part of her scalp torn off her head as she was dragged down the hallway.

The West Auckland girl was found by police last month after they were called to her home for what is believed to have been a domestic dispute.

She was taken to hospital where she was found to be starving and dehydrated. The girl was also anaemic from so much internal bleeding, had a broken bone in her foot and had extensive bruising all over her body.

Yesterday her parents, both of whom are unemployed, appeared in the Waitakere District Court charged in relation to her ongoing abuse and torture.

Her father, 32, is charged with assaulting her between January 2009 and November this year. He also faces charges of using a broomstick and a vacuum pipe as weapons to assault her during an eight-day period in November.

Her 30-year-old mother faces 32 charges including injuring with intent, assault with various weapons, wilful neglect by failing to seek medical help, withholding food, and causing grievous bodily harm. She also faces two charges of assaulting another child, aged 7, with a table leg and an unknown weapon.

Both have interim name suppression.

The Weekend Herald understands the girl had been removed from her parents by Child Youth and Family not long after she was born, and was returned to them only two years ago.

Court documents allege the girl had suffered violent beatings since the beginning of 2009, some of which were with a stick.

In April this year, her mother allegedly repeatedly punched her in the face and hands but never sought any medical treatment for her afterwards. The Weekend Herald understands the mother did however go to the doctors herself after breaking bones in both of her own hands during the beating.

In November the assaults intensified with her father allegedly beating her with a vacuum cleaner and a broomstick.

During the same period her mother also allegedly attacked her on an almost daily basis.

It is alleged that on November 10 she assaulted her daughter with a broomstick, repeatedly punched her in the face and body, lifted her toenail and bent it backwards and caused grievous bodily harm with a hammer.

Over the next two days she was also allegedly hit with a broomstick and a table leg, repeatedly punched in the face and body, and kicked in the groin while her mother was wearing steel-capped boots.

On November 14 her mother allegedly tore off her daughter's toenail before pouring salt and then boiling hot water on to the bleeding wound.

The following day abusive comments were written on her body in felt-tip pen. Also during November the mother allegedly put the girl in a hot bath and held her head under the water, starved her of food and forced her to stand in the corner for long periods of time, sometimes naked, without moving.

It is alleged one beating went from 9 o'clock one night until 2 the following morning.

Detective Sergeant Megan Goldie said the girl's injuries were so bad that police, and others associated with the inquiry, had all been affected.

While the girl is now in safe care and receiving psychological and specialist treatment, she is likely to need regular counselling for the rest of her life. Her siblings are also in safe care now.

Child Youth and Family northern regional director Grant Bennett said his staff were shocked by the extent of the "horrific abuse" the girl suffered.

"The abuse suffered by this little girl at the hands of the people who should care for her most is deeply upsetting."

He confirmed CYF had been working with others to support the family and "help them get to the point where they could provide a loving, safe home for their children".

Her parents have both been remanded on bail until next week when the issue of name suppression will be readdressed.

- NZ Herald

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