This page has important information that may help you with a situation you are in regarding the safety of a child.


Q. If I’m unsure about reporting suspected child abuse, what should I do?


A. Suspected child abuse is always investigated by Police and/or Child, Youth and Family (CYFS). A starting point might be a call to your local child protection team at the Police Station, or a call to a social worker at CYFs.


But if in doubt, make a Report of Concern. Over and over again we hear the phrase
“what if I’m wrong?” Turn that around and ask yourself “what if I’m RIGHT?”


Always remember: if you think the matter requires urgent attention, always call the Police
on 111 A Report of Concern can be made by calling 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459)
or by Fax: 09 914 1211 or Email: cyfcallcentre@cyf.govt.nz


Q. If I make a Report of Concern will the family lose their kids?


A. We can understand your concerns. Child, Youth and Family are the lead agency in New Zealand for looking after the welfare of children. They would always make every effort to keep a family together, but occasionally that is not possible. Sometimes CYF have to make an application to a judge for a child to be removed. This only happens in the most severe cases, and as a last resort. Most of the time CYFS respond to concerns by coordinating support services that can help families to improve the situation.


Q. What is child abuse?


A. Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm.


It commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability. Abusers can be adults (male or female) and other young people, and are usually known to and trusted by the child and family. That makes recognising and responding to what you are seeing and hearing difficult for many people. Remember, the unbelievable is believable in relations to child abuse and neglect.


Q. Why do we need to have safeguards such as a child protection policy and procedures in place?


A. A robust child protection policy and procedures are vital for any organisation or group because they guide you on how to:


Protect children and young people from harm and abuse


Enable staff and volunteers to know what to do if they are worried about a child or young person


Show that your group is responsible, recruits safely and has pride in its work


Make your organisation a place to avoid if you are a person who harms children


Q. Is it important that the people who attend the training come from a variety of work or community settings, even members of the public?


A. Yes, it is very important that our audience represent many groups within the community all sitting side by side listening to the same message. This form of training ensures that everyone who sees a family or child has the same understanding of what to look for and what to do if they are concerned about a child or young person. Also, it allows the safety network of the community to become aware of each others roles, and work in partnership to safeguard children and young people. Everyone is then truly working together to safeguard children.


Q. What do you offer that is different from other child protection training I have attended?


A. Our team all work within the community in roles that are involved in safeguarding children, this is vital. We know what it is like to be faced with concerns about a child or young person. Our hands-on approach will empower you and give you the confidence to always do the right thing. We come from a variety of professional backgrounds and show the many ways we can work together to keep children safe.



SCI are also able to respond to the needs of a particular community and tailor our presentations after speaking to key people with in a community who have identified barriers to safeguarding children or reporting concerns.


Q. What does the term “safeguarding children” mean?


A. Safeguarding is about prevention of harm and early intervention to minimise the impact on the child. Some examples of Safeguarding are:


Having a robust Child Protection Policy which everyone in the organisation knows and uses.


Child Protection training. People who work with children and attend training on child protection early in the career and at least 2 yearly thereafter are more likely to identify abuse and neglect and report their concerns.


The whole community working together and putting the child at the centre of their focus


Q. Who should attend your training?


A. Anyone can come along. We love to see members of the public, a whole community response is the best way to safeguard children.


We urge everyone who works with or is around children, young people and families to attend.
It is vital that everyone involved in schools and colleges attends, in particular those of you sitting on school boards. It is crucial that the school board recognises the importance of safeguarding children from abuse and neglect, in and out of school. The board of a school must have a robust safeguarding/child protection/safe recruitment policy in place. Our seminars can assist you with that.


However, everyone in the school should be given the opportunity to attend, the Principal, teachers, support staff, admin and pastoral care, even the grounds men. It is a team around the child approach, as it is everyones responsibility to recognise and report abuse and neglect as a good citizen.


Our attendees come from a variety of backgrounds, the list is huge. If you work with, support or are around children or families with children in them or in social activities or churches, we encourage you to attend. People who work in adult focused services, for example, drug and alcohol or mental health teams, may not work directly with the children of their clients they see, however they are working with vulnerable adults who hold their children’s futures in their hands.


We are particularly keen to see undergraduates of child/family/health related courses attend, making safeguarding/child protection training an fundamental component of their education from the very beginning.



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