Children’s Commissioner asks Oranga Tamariki to activate Child Protection Protocol

Children’s Commissioner asks Oranga Tamariki to activate Child Protection Protocol

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Office of the Children’s Commissioner has asked Oranga Tamariki to begin the Child Protection Protocol (CPP).

This includes calling the Police if there happens to be a publication concerning videos of staff treatment protocols of children in one of its care and protection residences.

A video captured at the residence shows staff doing a headlock on a child, including pressing a child against a wall. In addition, twisting another’s arms behind his back and slamming children to the ground occurred on several occasions.

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“On the face of it, the videos show violent attacks on children, by those who are supposed to be caring for them,” Commissioner Becroft said.

“These children are living in care and protection residences because they have experienced traumatic upbringings. Often they have nowhere else to go. These are not youth justice facilities, and children are not there for criminal offending.”

“The behaviour on the video appears to be neither care nor protection, and it should shock every New Zealander to the core. There is a clear need for Oranga Tamariki to active the CPP and trigger an investigation of possible abuse.”

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Evaluation of these places will be reported under the UN’s Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture — while report findings will be reported to the Government and Oranga Tamariki.

A recent report revealed that children told the Commissioner restraints by staff ‘felt like manhandling’ especially when they got angry.

“That is unacceptable and is a frequent refrain to the office,” the Commissioner adds.

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The Royal Commission of Abuse in Care shows that abuse did not come to a stop at the 2000 year cut off point. It shows the importance for powers to investigate what has occurred in state care since.

“Treatment in the videos highlights the fundamental problem with care and protection in residences and the reason why the Office has repeatedly called for their closure, including in several formal reports,” Commissioner Becroft said.

“This is a flawed and outdated model, where children with traumatic backgrounds are separated from other children and then aggregated together in a residential environment staffed by often underqualified people. History has shown they can have disastrous consequences.”

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An Independent Children’s Monitor would play a huge role in highlighting the cruciality of keeping the most fragile children in Aotearoa safe from emotional and physical abuse.

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