23 Nov 2011

Whakatane seeks to improve approach to serious child abuse

7:09 pm on 23 November 2011

Police and Child, Youth and Family have come together under one roof in Whakatane to improve the way they deal with serious child abuse.

Both services are now operating from one site, called Te Awhiti, which means to be "ever-vigilant" and "watchful".

They say they can be more responsive when social services report their first concerns about tamariki.

Eastern Bay of Plenty Police Area Commander Inspector Sandra Venables says young victims will receive the best care and service in one place.

She says it's all about making a priority to look after the victims and their whanau in what she calls a one-stop-shop.

Inspector Venables says victims can come in, be spoken to, helped, interviewed and undergo medical examinations.

She says, tragically, serious child abuse is a sad reality across her patch.

Between October 2010 and October 2011, the Eastern Bay of Plenty Police Child Protection Team and Whakatane CYF Office investigated 225 reports of serious child abuse and serious family violence incidents.