6 May 2017

Child mistreatment should have been reported - Ministry

11:38 am on 6 May 2017

The Ministry of Education says it's concerned no other teachers spoke up after a daycare supervisor assaulted children in her care.

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Photo: 123rf

Lynn Abraham has been found guilty in the Auckland District court on ten of 11 charges including smacking, washing a 4-year-old's mouth out with soap, and forcing feeding children.

Three of her colleagues told the court they saw her assault the children over four years, however none of them told the authorities.

The Ministry of Education said it welcomed yesterday's verdict, but it was concerned none of the teachers spoke up.

Katrina Casey, the head of sector of enablement and support, said if any teacher saw a child being mistreated the ministry expected them to take action immediately.

The Ministry said it had reclassified the centre's license to a provisional one.

Early Childhood Council chief executive Peter Reynolds said nobody should be treating children that way.

"I would hope that teachers that see something like this going on, would take a responsibility to do something about it, to take action. Tell someone above them or if necessary, go out of the centre to try and alert someone to it."

Mr Reynolds said it was not hard to work out what was acceptable and what was not.

"Sure that there are lessons that can be learnt in this specific instance that will help other services ensure that their prevention practices and their ability to identify when things are going wrong receive the appropriate support and are addressed in an appropriate way, so I am looking forward to more information coming out, from which the sector can reflect and can learn."

Mr Reynolds said mistreatment at childcare centres was not a widespread issue.

Early Childhood New Zealand deputy chief executive John Diggins said teachers have been horrified by the case.

But he was confident the majority of those in the sector followed their child protection policy, and knew how to act if they saw abuse.

"I have confidence in this sector. I know that every early childhood centre has that child protection policy in place and again, 99.9 percent of staff know the processes to follow in cases of child abuse, so I'm really confident that the sector knows how to act."

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