'Around the wrong way' - campaigner demands sweeping changes to prevent Kiwi kids suffering violent deaths

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Family violence campaigner Merepeka Raukawa-Tait is calling for more resources to be put into struggling families to prevent the violent deaths of New Zealand children.

Family violence campaigner Merepeka Raukawa-Tait says resources need to go to preventing violence, not dealing with its aftermath.
Source: Breakfast

Ms Raukawa-Tait spoke yesterday at the inquest into the horrific death of Taupo toddler Moko Rangitoheriri, saying nothing has been improved for children in New Zealand since the death of Nia Glassie 10 years ago.

She is calling for sweeping changes to be made to the way government agencies deal with cases of child abuse.

"We've got it around the wrong way," Ms Raukawa-Tait told TVNZ1's Breakfast programme this morning.

"Why aren't we getting into these homes early enough, putting the right people there?"

Between 2007 and 2015, 94 children were killed in New Zealand.

Ms Raukawa-Tait says the government is putting millions of dollars worth of resources into dealing with the aftermath of child abuse, but instead should be putting that into preventing it.

"We've got to make the necessary changes. Otherwise we're going to continue to get this parade of children dying in our country but we don't do that."

"Plucking" children from their homes is not addressing the abuse or helping change families, she says.

"Eventually those children will return home or other children will be born to those homes so it is the homes where the resources must go."

She says the country needs to reframe how it classes certain families in New Zealand.

"All families aren't mad, bad and sad. But what they are doing is living in struggle street every day; they're never getting any breathing space."

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