'There should be no right to silence' - Call for caregivers to be charged when family stays silent over child abuse

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is again calling for a law change, to make it a criminal offence for family members to stay silent in the wake of child abuse.

Their renewed push, in a statement today, comes as an Auckland four-month-old baby girl recovers from horror injuries, including 16 fractures, injuries police say were "non-accidental".

NZ Herald is reporting that the baby's family has been un-cooperative with police since her injuries were discovered on arrival at Middlemore Hospital on February 18.

In a release this afternoon, Scott Guthrie of the Sensible Sentencing Trust says: "The question must be asked, what are we actually doing to reduce the violent abuse of our children in New Zealand?"

"What normal human being thinks this kind of behaviour is remotely acceptable?

"Here we have a defenceless child beaten and tortured over a lengthy period of time. This is clearly not a case of the child accidentally falling down some stairs, this clearly is a case of child abuse at its very worst."

Mr Guthrie said the law had to change so that those who know what took place cannot remain silent without consequences.

"All too often we hear the words the right to silence, when it comes to children being violently beaten and tortured.

"There should be no right to silence. That baby has care givers who live with it on a day to day basis.

"It is those people that should be charged and held to account for the offending until someone tells the truth."

Police call on those who know what happened to do the right thing

Meanwhile police today revealed the horror injuries inflicted on the Howick baby were "non-accidental" and inflicted over a period of time.

They are asking for those who know what happened to speak up.

In speaking today, Detective Senior Sergeant Sutherland revealed the baby had suffered fractures to her skull, ribs, arms and legs.

"Medical staff discovered significant fractures to her body, which included to her skull, ribs, arms and legs," Detective Sutherland said in a statement.

"The fractures have been described by medical experts as being of varying ages and classically associated with non-accidental injury.

"Thankfully, the child is going to make a full recovery however Police are extremely concerned by these injuries and Oranga Tamariki has been notified."

The girl is now in the care of Oranga Tamariki.

"Anyone with information is urged to contact the Counties Manukau Child Protection team on 09 213 8571 or anonymously to the crime stoppers reporting line on 0800 555 111.

"You can also send us a private message on Facebook."

The four-month-old was admitted to Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital in February. Source: 1 NEWS