23 Jun 2011

New, integrated centre to help victims of child abuse

5:16 pm on 23 June 2011

Police Minister Judith Collins has opened a new facility in Wellington that brings police officers investigating child abuse under the same roof as other child protection agencies.

The $2.5 million Koru House, in Petone, will be shared by police, nurses, Child Youth and Family, Relationship Services and the charity Barnardos.

It is a joint initiative between police, CYF and Hutt Valley District District Health Board and follows the establishment of similar multi-agency centres in Auckland City, Counties-Manukau and Tauranga.

Wellington Police District Child Protection Team leader, Detective Senior Sergeant Tusha Penny, says Koru House is a victim-focused facility.

She says progress is being made as each month goes by, and it is exciting to have the new facility because it takes child protection efforts to a different level.

Ms Collins says internationally New Zealand rates poorly around the abuse of children and family violence. Wellington District accounts for about 12% of all child abuse investigations nationally.

"This centre will provide an integrated response to child abuse with a safe and supportive environment ... ''The centre will allow one-stop access to specialised medical, forensic and psychological services, and enable investigations to be more easily co-ordinated and carried out.''