28 Jul 2011

Government failing to take action on child abuse - Opposition

9:03 am on 28 July 2011

Opposition parties say the Government is using a discussion document on children to avoid facing up to the issues that children and families are facing.

The public has seven months to make submissions on the Green Paper on Vulnerable Children which aims to find ways to improve the lives of at-risk children.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says some of the proposals are controversial and challenging.

The Labour Party says the only controversial aspect is that the document repeats recommendations made to Ms Bennett in 2009 on which no action has been taken.

The Green Party says the paper is simply another way for the Government to avoid its responsibilities.

The document suggests making it mandatory to report child abuse, canvasses the sharing of private information between agencies about at-risk children and looks at whether parents with addictions or mental health issues should be prioritised for support over people who are not parents.

Women's Refuge says it is worried time is being wasted consulting on a discussion document rather than being spent taking action.

But the chief executive of strategic operations at child protection service Jigsaw, Liz Kinley, says some of the issues are contentious and should be carefully considered.