25 Sep 2020

Non-disclosure of child abuse would be an offence under National government

11:32 am on 25 September 2020

National is pledging to make non-disclosure of child abuse an offence with a maximum three-year jail sentence if elected.

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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

That proposal is part of National's families and children policy, released today, which it says is part of its plan to "ensure Kiwi children grow up with opportunities by having a strong, dynamic and growing economy that provides every adult with the means to provide".

It would also establish a reduction target for material hardship.

The policy aims to protect children from abuse and mistreatment in their homes, the party's social development spokesperson Louise Upston says.

National would:

  • Make non-disclosure of child abuse an offence, with a maximum three year sentence for failing to provide information about child abuse to police
  • Drive a reduction in child poverty by establishing a meaningful reduction target for what really counts - the number of children suffering material hardship
  • Implement regular reporting and a clear reduction target for the number of children experiencing physical and sexual abuse, to reveal the full extent of the problem in New Zealand and focus the public sector on stamping out abuse
  • Implement enhanced screening, with pre-birth & post-birth GP visits, and a revamped B4 School check at age three to identify developmental concerns, screen for trauma, brain injury and foetal alcohol syndrome, and trigger early intervention services
  • Empower parents with a funding entitlement of $3000 to allocate between whatever services they believe best meet their needs and the needs of their child
  • Establish a National Centre for Child Development, which brings together the best of health, education research and neuroscience and develops new products and services to support parents and children during the first 1000 days and beyond
  • Improve the reach of Whānau Ora to communities where it is not yet provided or more difficult to access

Upston says the proposal builds on National's First 1000 Days policy.

"National knows that there is a responsibility for government - working together with communities, whānau, schools, and iwi to intervene when children are experiencing material hardship, suffering from abuse or being denied the basics that enable them to thrive," she says.

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