10 May 2011

Law to report child abuse passes first hurdle

10:24 pm on 10 May 2011

Legislation obligating adults to report child abuse or neglect has passed its first reading in Parliament on Tuesday night.

The Crimes Amendment Bill (No 2) requires parents and caregivers to take reasonable steps to protect the child from injury until they reach the age of 18.

It also creates a new offence, under which parents or other adults who witness or who are aware of serious abuse, are legally required to try to stop it.

Justice Minister Simon Power told the House too many New Zealand children have died, with adults fully aware of what was going on.

"We need legislation which gives a clear message to those people they are not 'narks'; they are people who are protecting those who most need their protection - young, small and vulnerable members of our society who cannot speak for themselves.

Independent MP Chris Carter and the Green Party opposed the bill's first reading.