May 15, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Role of social agencies critical in child custody

1 min read

(Waatea News) A lawyer with extensive experience working with rangatahi says a review of the treatment of children in police custody needs to take a close look at the role of welfare agencies.

The review by the Human Rights Commission, The Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the Independent Police Conduct Authority aims to see whether New Zealand is meeting its obligations under the international Convention Against Torture.

Hyrum Parata from Ngati Toa says amendments to the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act which came into force in October have created more demand for places in secure youth facilities than there are beds.

He says some Child Youth and Family staff fail to put the needs of the child first.

Someone would turn up to the police station that in a hurry, has other commitments, private commitments probably. The priority that should be given to the youth in custody seems to become a secondary matter and it is not good enough. There must be some way of drafting or compiling a checklist followed to the letter as opposed to having these arbitrary responses to any situation, Mr Parata says.

He says the bulk of children spending time in police custody are Maori.

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