Parents have questions to answer

By Heather McCracken

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It's hard to know where to start. The first question that would have struck many readers about our front-page story yesterday was to question why a group of 11 to 13-year-old children were out on the streets at 1am.

The kids were walking on Bannister St when they were allegedly attacked by a youth bearing a stick or length of wood - the kids receiving injuries, including a tooth being knocked out.

What on earth were they doing there? Who knew they were out? Were they from the same family and, if so, didn't someone wonder why beds were empty at that time of night?

The second thing that's hard to fathom is what would then prompt a 16-year-old girl - also very young to be out and about at that time of night - to allegedly attack them with a stick.

Initial reports had the alleged attacker as a 17-year-old youth. A court appearance in Youth Court yesterday, which we cannot report for legal reasons - confirmed the accused was actually a girl, and not yet 17.

When you consider an incident like this, it's perhaps not so surprising that Child, Youth and Family received almost 2700 notifications of suspected child abuse in the most recent financial year.

That means more than seven notifications every day of the year, just for this region.

Of those, more than 1000 required further investigation and 274 were substantiated.

All of the children who were involved in Sunday morning's incident have been referred to CYF, with the police saying their presence on the street at such a late hour was "very concerning".

And so more notifications are added to the list.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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