I can't think of any crime more heinous than that of an adult purposely abusing a small defenceless child.
Usually sustained assaults over months that include kicks to the stomach, punches to the head, arms and legs twisted, face slammed against the wall.
Only a monster gets pleasure from inflicting such pain and suffering on a child.
But here's the kicker, at least six adults know it's happening, have heard it and seen it occurring.
Six adults, some of whom will invariably say after a child is killed "she was a lovely little girl, full of life, a real joy to have around".
It's too late then to cry foul play. Too late for so-called love and affection.
Adults have a responsibility to protect and keep children safe and to speak up when they know all is not well. To raise merry hell. To be the voice for the child that is being harmed, slowly dispatched.
The six people can be family members, neighbours and others who come into contact with the child or visit the home.
But research shows they are normally the child's immediate family members.
Since 2013 New Zealand has mandatory reporting laws.
This means the law requires suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to be reported.
They extend to government agencies and the majority of non-profit organisations.
Doctors, hospital staff members, and residences where children are living are required to report.
And it also covers anyone, over the age of 18 years, living in a household where child abuse is occurring, to take reasonable steps to protect that child from death, serious harm, or sexual assault.
They can be prosecuted for not reporting.
For many years New Zealand hesitated to introduce mandatory reporting.
Doctors strenuously argued against it. They didn't want anything to prejudice doctor-patient relationships.
Mandatory reporting would legally require them to report identified and suspected child abuse.
Nearly every child, including vulnerable ones, visits the doctor during their childhood years. This is an opportunity for early identification and intervention.
Schools were also slow to accept they had a role in mandatory reporting. Now they have protocols in place to guide their approach to reporting promptly any suspected and actual abuse of a child.
It's not hard to understand why the reluctance to report suspected child abuse.
You do need reasonable certainty that a child is in need of protection from significant harm due to abuse or neglect.
Of course, there will be difficult conversations that must take place but surely when weighed against the suffering a child could be enduring, it is the right course of action.
Mandatory reporting was introduced as just one measure to help reduce New Zealand's appalling child abuse statistics. It is working.
But the most successful approach to reducing harm, abuse and killing of children in New Zealand lies in a safe and loving home environment.
Where we don't just talk about loving our children but where it is seen and demonstrated daily.
Where young parents, in particular, will be given the necessary support to learn good parenting skills, and if things get difficult and stressful they know they can ask for help and won't suffer judgment and repercussions for reaching out.
And when relationships end it is vital that parents know when a new partner comes on the scene.
The new partner will probably have their own children and is rarely interested in anyone else's.
Time for some sound due diligence. It's not difficult to find out how many children the new partner has, and if from multiple partners.
Absolutely ask and find out. Do they have a criminal record? Do they have a job? What's their credit history? Where have they been living for the past five years?
Don't feel bad about asking probing questions. They are all normal when you want to get the real low down on the person who will be spending a significant amount of time with your children.
If something doesn't smell right go with your instinct and speak up. Share your concerns and be prepared to put a safety plan in place as soon as possible.
Let all interested parties know about the plan, what it contains, and that it will be actively monitored. Everyone is on notice.
Being a parent has never been an easy job, but little children must always come first. They rely on adults for protection, shelter and safety.
It is when adults put their own selfish needs ahead of their children's, that the consequences can be devastating. Too late then for sympathy and condolences.