Coroner's child-register plan rejected

Moko died from injuries sustained during a prolonged period of abuse.

The Children’s Commissioner will not back a register to monitor all children despite a coroner saying it will save lives.

Coroner Wallace Bain made the recommendation after the brutal killing of Nia Glassie 10 years ago, and has repeated his call after considering the case of three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri.

Moko died in 2015 after prolonged abuse by his two carers, Tania Shailer and David Haerewa.

He was kicked, slapped, bitten, thrown and stomped on.

When he began soiling himself, he had faeces rubbed in his face as punishment. He died of a ruptured bowel and a head injury.

In the findings released yesterday, Dr Bain says too many opportunities to help Moko were missed by several agencies in the months leading up to his death.

Ten years ago after the killing of Nia Glassie, he recommended that all children be registered from birth with government agencies. Another 94 children have died in that time.

Dr Bain says whatever the cost, child abuse has to be stopped and a register could save lives.

But Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says it would mean nothing unless the services delivered were high-quality and effective.

He says agencies like Well Child Tamariki Ora and Children’s Teams already exist, and it would be pointless to "reinvent the wheel".

"That’s why using and expanding existing services is a better immediate first step, and ensuring that they’re well trained."

Judge Becroft says to end violence against children, government agencies needed to work alongside highly trained community agencies.

’We have children dying’

But Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, the former head of Women’s Refuge, says the equivalent of three classrooms of children have died since Nia Glassie.

"We can’t be precious in this instance, we have children dying, and they’re dying regularly.

"This is a major recommendation out of a coroner’s report, surely this time it’s going to be acted upon."

Ms Raukawa-Tait says it did not have to become a negative programme.

She says community groups would need to deliver services because families did not trust government agencies.

Arama Ngapo-Lipscombe is the lawyer for Moko’s mother Nicola Dally-Paki.

She would back a register but adds a word of caution.

"There will be a fear that it’s used to prejudge, prejudice, predetermine and that will lead to professionals making judgements without taking into account a person’s circumstance.

"There is a risk they will look at the register and profile them."

1 Comment


Posted on 14-12-2017 13:52 | By Qalad

Whilst as a society we continue to pay people to have children and they are viewed as fpos cards, the problem will continue to grow. We have no children for adoption and thousands of couples wanting to be parents. Both of these problems did not exist in the 1960s or 1970s .

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