Eastern Courier : June 10th 2011
8 EASTERN COURIER, JUNE 10, 2011 NEWS So be smart, make sure you are driving a safer car. Book a time with Midas, and you'll be as good as gold! 129 Meadowland Drive Ph 535 0055 MIDAS HOWICK WWW.MIDASNZ.CO.NZ Actually give your car a couple of breaks, with a new pair of front brake pads. And...we'll throw in, for absolutely nothing...free!!...gratis!!.. a brake fluid replacement. FREE brake fluid replacement with any set of new front brake pads firstname.lastname@example.org www.watersfunerals.co.nz 426 Great South Rd Papatoetoe Manukau City Auckland Caring, professional service for all cultures & communities Intimate Chapel facilities Nicole, Keong & Richie hRd, y Ph: 09 278 8742 Ready-made Aussie abuse handbook As New Zealand moves towards compulsory, much- needed reporting of suspected child abuse, a virtual guide- book on the use of the system has been written in Aust- ralia. The authors, a panel of experts for the Australian Institute of Family Studies, have defined the needs and the problems. They spelt out how each state lists those who have legal responsibili- ties and what they should look for. This is a must-read for those who are going to argue the case and make a new compulsory scheme work here -- as it must if young lives are to be saved and our terrible roll call of murdered kids ended. Australian law protects people whose reports are later proved unjustified but given in good faith. The Australian web spreads wide. It s amazing, particularly when compared against the misgivings of some professional groups here who don t want to be drawn into the process. The recurring words are: Reasonable grounds justified belief suspicion. Penalties for failure to report range from $5000 to $22,000. In the Northern Territory, which has the most broad and all-encompassing laws, every adult must report child abuse and failure to do so involves up to $22,000 fines. Statistics are muddying how effectively the new abuse reporting laws are working. In 2000-01 Australian national child abuse report figures were in the low 100,000s. In the years that followed -- when most Aust- ralian states passed manda- tory reporting laws -- that fig- ure rose steadily and sharply to reach 339,454 reports in 2008-09. Most recent figures for 2009-10 show 286,437 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. This is a significant decrease of 16 percent from the previous year and is the first drop in notifications across Australia in the past 10 years. The Family Studies panel provides these definitions and pros and cons: Manda- tory reporting is considered a symbolic acknowledgement of the seriousness of child abuse. It reinforces the moral responsibility of community members to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. Its introduction aims to overcome the reluctance of some professionals to become involved in suspected cases of child abuse with laws which impose a public duty to do so. Mandatory reporting, and the publicity associated with its introduction increases public awareness of child abuse, both within mandated professional groups and the community at large. As critics here have already said, in many instances it also substantially increases the number of reports made to child protection depart- ments. The panel warns: Give them the resources they need. If resources are not available to respond, services can be overwhelmed with cases without sufficient staffing to investigate. To cope with this some Aussie child protection departments made that change to the level of serious- ness of reports that give rise to an investigation. The problem: When man- dated people report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect, they expect the child protection department to investigate and take action. If that doesn t happen people might stop making reports. These are the groups of Australians legally bound to report and their powers: Australian Capital Ter- ritory: Doctors, dentists, nurses and enrolled nurses; midwives, teachers at a school; a person providing education to a child or young person who is registered or provisionally registered for home education, police, persons employed to counsel children or young people at a school; those caring for a child at a childcare centre, co- ordinating or monitoring home-based care for a family, daycare scheme proprietors, public servants who work with or provide services per- sonally to children and young people or families, the public advocates, official visitors, anyone who, in the course of employment, has contact with or provides services to children, young people and their families. The grounds: A belief on reasonable grounds that a child or young person has experienced or is experienc- ing sexual abuse or non- accidental physical injury; and the belief arises from information obtained by the person during the course of the person s work (whether paid or unpaid). New South Wales: People who in the course of profes- sional work or other paid employment deliver health- care, welfare, education, children s services, residen- tial services or law enforce- ment, wholly or partly, to children, people who hold a management position in an organisation, including direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of healthcare, welfare, edu- cation, children s services, residential services or law enforcement, wholly or partly, to children. The grounds: Reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at risk of significant harm; and those grounds arise during the course of or from the person s work. There s another $22,000 pen- alty for failing to report. Northern Territories: Anyone with reasonable grounds. The grounds: Reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at risk of significant harm and those grounds arise during the course of or from the person s work. Also registered health pro- fessionals. The grounds: Reasonable grounds to believe a child aged 14 or 15 years has been orislikelytobeavictimofa sexual offence and the age difference between the child and offender is greater than two years. Queensland: Authorised officers, employees of the Department of Communities (Child Safety Services), those employed in a departmental care service or licensed care service. The grounds: Awareness or reasonable suspicion of harm caused to a child placed in the care of an entity conducting a departmental care service or a licensee. Also doctors or registered nurses. The grounds: Aware- ness or reasonable suspicion during the practice of their profession of harm or risk of harm. Also the Commissioner for Children and Young People. The grounds: A child who is in need of protection under the Child Protection Act (ie, has suffered or is at unac- ceptable risk of suffering harm and does not have a parent able to protect them. South Australia: Doctors, pharmacists, registered or enrolled nurses; dentists, psychologists; police officers; community corrections offi- cers, social workers, teachers, family daycare providers, employees/volunteers in a government department, agency or instrumentality, or a local government or non- government agency that provides health, welfare, edu- cation, sporting or rec- reational, childcare or resi- dential services wholly or partly for children, ministers of religion (with the exception of disclosures made in the confessional); employees or volunteers in a religious or spiritual organisations. The grounds: Reasonable grounds that a child has been or is being abused or neg- lecte. Tasmania: Registered me- dical practitioners, nurses, dentists, dental therapists or dental hygienists, registered psychologists; police officers, probation officers; principals and teachers in any edu- cational institution, people who provide childcare or a childcare service for fee or reward, those concerned in the management of a licensed childcare, also anyone who is employed or engaged as an employee for, of, or in, or who is a volunteer in, a govern- ment agency that provides health, welfare, education, child care or residential services wholly or partly for children, and an organisation that receives any funding from the Crown for the pro- vision of such services, and any other person of a class determined by the minister to be prescribed persons. The grounds: A belief, sus- picion, reasonable grounds or knowledge that a child has been or is being abused or neglected or is an affected child within the meaning of the Family Violence Act 2004. Victoria: Registered medi- cal practitioners, registered nurses, a person registered as a teacher under the Edu- cation, Training and Reform Act 2006 or teachers granted permission to teach under that act, principals of govern- ment or non-government schools, and members of the police force. The grounds: Belief on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection on a ground referred to in Section 162(c) or 162(d), formed in the course of prac- tising his or her office. Western Australia: Court personnel, family counsellors, family dispute resolution practitioners, arbitrators or legal practitioners represen- ting the child s interests. The grounds: Reasonable grounds for suspecting that a child has been abused, or is at risk of being abused, ill- treated, or is at risk of being ill-treated or exposed or subjected to behaviour that psychologically harms the child. Also licensed providers of childcare or outside-school- hours care services. The grounds: Allegations of abuse, neglect or assault, including sexual assault, of an enrolled child during a care session And doctors, nurses and midwives, teachers; and police officers The grounds: Belief on reasonable grounds that child sexual abuse has occurred or is occurring. New Zealand should take advantage of this experience and research so close to home, in particular, the need to put money where our law is and allocate enough resources to cope with the extra work involved. Otherwise, once again and sadly, we ll merely be paying lip service to ending those annual tolls of the innocent dead and how they died. Voters reminded to get on the roll If you haven t received an enrolment update pack by now you re not enrolled to vote for this year s general election and referendum on the voting system. Enrolment update packs have been sent to the three million New Zealanders enrolled to vote. Many people miss out because they ve moved house and not updated their enrolment details. We do get situations where people have changed where they live but not given us their new address, electoral enrolment centre national manager Mur- ray Wicks says. If their pack gets returned to us we have to remove them from the electoral roll, he says. It s especially import- ant for Christchurch residents who have been displaced as a result of the recent earthquakes to let us know where they are staying. They can still be registered for their home address even if they ll be staying somewhere else for a while but we need them to either update or provide their mailing address. The Electoral Enrol- ment Centre and its registrars of electors around the country are urging those who didn t receive enrolment update packs to enrol. Enrolling to vote doesn t happen auto- matically when people turn 18 or become eli- gible -- they need to fill in an enrolment form. Visit www.elections. org.nz to enrol. Enrolment forms are also available by freetexting your name and address to 3676, calling 0800-367-656 or at any PostShop.
June 8th 2011
June 15th 2011