20 Jan 2011

Inquiry ordered into serious child abuse case

9:40 pm on 20 January 2011

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has ordered a ministerial inquiry into a serious case of child abuse.

The parents of a nine-year-old Auckland girl are facing 36 charges of abuse and injury.

Ms Bennett says the discovery of the girl in West Auckland with horrific injuries is one of the worst cases of child abuse she has seen since becoming a minister.

She has received a final report on the case from Child, Youth and Family's chief social worker and says there appears to be no single glaring failure on the part of any of the 12 agencies involved with the child's family.

However, Ms Bennett says there are still a number of unanswered questions and she has appointed former Ombudsman Mel Smith to lead an independent inquiry, beginning immediately and reporting back by end of March.

The child is now in a safe, caring situation, Ms Bennett says.