22 Dec 2009

Inquiry into child abuse policing extended nationwide

9:56 pm on 22 December 2009

An inquiry by the Independent Police Conduct Authority, the IPCA, into the police handling of child abuse cases in Wairarapa will be expanded to cover all New Zealand.

In June, the authority was notified of delays in the police response to child abuse cases in the Wellington district, in particular Wairarapa. In August, the IPCA launched an inquiry into the delay in investigating more than 100 child abuse cases.

The chair of the authority, Justice Lowell Goddard, says the authority has evidence of problems with the management of child abuse cases in districts other than Wairarapa, and is now treating it as a nationwide enquiry.

She says the inquiry is focused on police conduct, practices, policies and procedures in relation to child abuse cases.

Justice Goddard says the IPCA's inquiry is being conducted independently of the police, who have been trying to address a backlog in child abuse cases in the Wairarapa as well as conducting internal inquiries.

The police say they've been liaising closely with the IPCA, to provide information to its inquiry into the management of child abuse cases.

The Assistant Police Commissioner, Malcolm Burgess, says the police have put a lot of effort into ensuring the IPCA is able to effectively access the information it needs, since the inquiry was announced in August.

He says the police will continue to provide the authority with whatever it requires.