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PAPAKURA COURIER, JANUARY 25, 2012
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Lawyer urging public to help abused kids
By TROELS SOMMERVILLE
Protect the children: Lawyer Sandra Alofivae is helping promote a meeting that seeks input on the Social Development Ministry's Green Paper for Vulnerable Children.
How does a five-month-old break a
leg'' is what Sandra Alofivae wants
The south Auckland lawyer is
hoping to rally the community to
come out and speak up for the
downtrodden and neglected chil-
dren of New Zealand.
She's helping promote the Minis-
try of Social Development's Green
Paper for Vulnerable Children.
It's a discussion paper seeking
input from communities on the
plight of the nation's youth.
Social Development Minister
Paula Bennett is taking a tour of
New Zealand and is coming to south
Auckland tomorrow to get the pub-
Ms Alofivae says it's not just for
any one particular group but for all
New Zealanders to have their say
on an issue that doesn't get dis-
cussed anywhere near enough.
It's an issue that would disgust
even the most insensitive New Zea-
lander. We are not a nation of child
abusers,'' she says.
We think it's not okay but we're
not moved enough as a nation to
actually change it.
We're quite happy to talk about
it in closed circles but we won't talk
about it in a wider audience.
In 2009 1286 kids throughout the
country were admitted to hospital
due to assault, neglect or maltreat-
One of those was a five-month-old
with a broken leg whose case Ms
Alofivae has been working on.
Someone has to have done some
serious damage, for example some-
one standing on it,'' Ms Alofivae
Because when you look at the
medical evidence as to how a child
breaks a leg you require quite
Even with what Ms Alofivae says
was more than enough evidence
from the other children, no one was
It has taken her close to three
years and a lot of work to get the
child and its siblings placed in
She's been working with children
ever since she graduated law school
in 1989 and says she hopes the dis-
cussion will lead to systemic
changes in laws and procedure.
We've got laws for Africa but if
you're not getting that tight-
knitted, integrated approach -- the
one that we now know in hindsight
that we need -- then you're not sup-
porting our children.''
The meeting takes place
tomorrow from 1.30pm at the civic
centre, 31-33 Wiri Station Rd.
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