Press Release – New Zealand Government
By blundering into an emerging sex abuse case, Labour MP Sue Moroney is likely to create more damage.Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development
25 October 2013 Media Statement
Labour gets it wrong, creates more damage
By blundering into an emerging sex abuse case, Labour MP Sue Moroney is likely to create more damage.
“Sadly she has put her desperation to grab a headline ahead of the children at the centre of this,” says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.
The Kaitaia community is dealing with an extremely traumatic incident as sex abuse charges have been laid against a man who gained access to children.
Moroney has today claimed a change in policy is related to this incident by allowing sole charge supervision in this after school programme.
The man facing charges for sexual abuse is not an approved supervisor at the after school programme in question.
There is a minimum two person requirement for running after school care programmes such as this one.
Changes made in 2011 allowed exceptions to be granted for some small providers with fewer than ten children, to have sole charge as two supervisors would not be necessary or affordable.
This particular provider had applied and was granted such an exception but the approved supervisor is not the same person facing charges and is not before the courts.
Just to be clear, the man before the courts was not an approved supervisor.
“I’m appalled at this Labour MP’s approach as families are reeling, a multi-agency investigation is underway, sensitive evidential interviews of children are taking place and a court process has barely begun.”
“There are potential child victims in this case who need the support of families and the community to deal with the trauma before them,” says Mrs Bennett.
The Children’s Action Plan is already being introduced to communities around the country and sweeping changes are contained in the Vulnerable Children Legislation to protect children.
Child protection policies, Child Harm Prevention Orders, standard screening and vetting are all vital changes. But it’s also vital for communities to be vigilant to the sad reality that predators exist and will try to get near children.
A serious multi agency investigation is underway in Kaitaia and must continue to gather the necessary evidence to find answers and justice for any children who have been hurt.
Submissions on the Vulnerable Children Bill close 30 October.