4 Jun 2009

Children's advocate urges action against abuse

8:41 am on 4 June 2009

The new Children's Commissioner, John Angus, is calling for more action to help reduce child abuse.

A report released by the commissioner reviews international and domestic findings on the causes of child abuse, and identifies common risk factors.

Every year in New Zealand about 45 children under the age of 5 are seriously injured, and about five are killed.

The report suggest the youngest babies are most at risk. Common factors for deaths include the stresses of a crying baby and carers having problems with alcohol and anger.

There is particular risk when babies are left in the care of young men who are not biological fathers.

Mr Angus says he wants a country-wide adoption of a shaken baby prevention programme.

He says men in particular need to understand an infant's vulnerability to brain injury.