Incidents rare, but monitor children’s behaviour

Press Release – Ministry of Education

Media release Wednesday, February 29 Incidents rare, but monitor children’s behaviour says senior Ministry of Education psychologist Ministry of Education traumatic incident expert Roger Phillipson said incidents involving sex offenders are rare but parents …
Media release

Wednesday, February 29
Incidents rare, but monitor children’s behaviour says senior Ministry of Education psychologist

Ministry of Education traumatic incident expert Roger Phillipson said incidents involving sex offenders are rare but parents who have concerns should monitor their child’s behaviour.

Children and young people who experience a traumatic incident do not always talk about the incident openly.

Parents with any reasons for concern should therefore keep an eye on children. Any change in their behaviour may indicate a problem.

Senior psychologist Roger Phillipson, who works for the ministry’s traumatic incident team in south Auckland, said: ‘Children who are normally loud and outgoing may become withdrawn. Others who may be quiet may show a different behaviour.

“Parents know their children and by keeping an eye on them they will know whether something might be wrong.

“Some children are good communicators who can talk about what they have experienced while others may not be, so parents and caregivers should use other means.”

“Children can use notes or find it easier to talk to friends. Even texting is becoming a much more common way of expressing concerns. Parents should keep an eye on the less obvious forms of communication their children may be using.

“However, it’s really important to keep a sense of proportion. The threat to children of someone like Person A is very low. Of all the 143 traumatic incidents the ministry responded to last year none involved a sex offender.

“This kind of incident is very rare in New Zealand but of course that does not mean the ministry or any of the other services and agencies involved are complacent – we are not.

“Anyone with any concerns should seek support in the first instance either from their teacher, their family GP or a counselling service. For schools directly concerned we have set up an 0800 number.

“New Zealand’s traumatic incident service is recognised internationally as a world leader in responding to these kinds of incidents.

“Schools aided by the ministry are prepared to support anyone who may have experienced an incident of some kind and will continue to work with the schools involved and coordinate with the police and Child Youth and Family to provide support.”
Notes for editors

Traumatic Incident Teams work alongside the principals and school management teams to:

• help them problem solve and plan to manage the situation
• give age appropriate responses to support students
• maintain school routines and ‘normalise’ the situation as much as possible
• connect to other specialist supports should these be required
• support communication with the school and parent community

For more on the Traumatic Incident process see www.minedu.govt.nz/Boards/SupportForStudents/TraumaticIncidentManagement.aspx.

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