May 16, 2017
State care abuse longstanding problem
Lawyer Annette Sykes says a call by Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft for fundamental change in residential youth facilities echoes decades of korero from Maori.
Judge Becroft's report State of Care: A focus on Oranga Tamariki's secure residences said care and protection residences are bleak and prison-like and youth justice residences are youth prisons.
While there was no evidence found of systemic abuse, there was bullying and an all too common undercurrent of violence.
Judge Becroft highlighted the fact 70 percent of rangatahi in youth justice facilities are Maori.
Ms Sykes says she attended hui in the 1970s when people like Eva Rickard and the Maori Women's Welfare League were decrying the way Maori children were taken from their whanau.
Many of those she appears for in the courts were the victims of abuse in borstals and state care, which contributes to their own criminal dysfunction.
"Now this has got to be dealt with. It's a systemic issue. We as a Maori community need to rise up as Eva Rickard, as John Rangihau, as Rob Cooper all did and challenge the veracity of a state that would cause such harm to our children," Ms Sykes says.
Past attempts to reform the system in line with Maori concerns were shelved to cut costs and now outsourcing means the business of doing harm to children is being privatised.
Copyright © 2017, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com