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As badly beaten Flaxmere child lies in hospital, expert fears Kiwis are losing trust in organisations that could help

As a four-year-old boy lies in serious condition in Starship Hospital after being severely beaten at his home in Flaxmere, one expert fears New Zealanders are losing trust with organisations that could help, like Oranga Tamariki. 

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Jane Searle says she fears Kiwis are losing trust with institutions like Oranga Tamariki. Source: Breakfast

Two weeks on and police still don't know who or how the young Flaxmere boy was so seriously injured. Police have also said no other government agencies, including Oranga Tamariki, were involved with the family before the incident.

Jane Searle is a former detective who worked with the child abuse team in the New Zealand Police, and is now chief executive at Child Matters, an organisation that aims to prevent child abuse and neglect.

In light of the Flaxmere case, Ms Searle told TVNZ1's Breakfast organisations like Oranga Tamariki are still needed, despite November's damning report into child uplifts.

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"One of my concerns is that people will stop engaging with Oranga Tamariki and stop reporting their concerns because of what they've seen in the media," says Ms Searle.

"We would all love to be in a system where we don’t need uplifts, but currently we still need that critical intervention."

Ms Searle says everyone working in the sector agrees prevention is key. 

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But she knows it isn't a quick fix. 

"It's really important to use the system we have while we all work to fix it," said Ms Searle.