Make child safety investigations mandatory in domestic violence cases

Child Youth and Family (CYF) investigations into the safety of children should be mandatory in domestic violence cases involving families with children, the Green Party said today.

The Greens’ call comes after two high profile judicial decisions this week – the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the West Auckland boys charged with the death of Arun Kumar.

“Each of those cases revealed a well-documented history of domestic violence,” said the Green Party Social Development spokesperson Jan Logie.

“But the safety and well-being of the children in the families concerned was not given priority – with tragic consequences in each case.

“According to the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse, 57% of children who have witnessed intimate partner violence have also been maltreated themselves, compared to 11% of those who had not witnessed intimate partner violence.

With such a high correlation between domestic violence and child abuse and neglect, CYF needs to take action to ensure the safety and well-being of every child in households where domestic violence occurs.

“Just witnessing domestic violence can have devastating impacts on the development of children and young people, even if they are not physically abused themselves.

“So it is disturbing to read this morning Waitakere Anti-Violence Essential Services Manager Tiana Fletcher reporting that of the children coming through that service annually, only about fifteen percent got any kind of CYF intervention.

“It is time for Government to step up and ensure every child exposed to domestic violence gets the necessary interventions to ensure his or her well-being,” Ms Logie said.