Pregnant woman sent to jail for bashing CYF worker
A pregnant Palmerston North woman could have her baby delivered behind bars after being sent to prison for attacking a Child, Youth and Family worker.
A custody meeting at the CYF office in Palmerston North turned sour when Nadine April Hawea, 37, "lost control" and repeatedly punched a social worker after finding out that her children would not be returned to her. Yesterday, Hawea - who is seven months pregnant - was sentenced in Palmerston North District Court to four months' imprisonment on a count of assault, to which she had pleaded guilty.
On February 15, Hawea went to the CYF office on Church St to regain custody of her 6-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter, police said.
Hawea became angry during a meeting with a social worker and her family lawyer, grabbing the social worker by the collar and repeatedly punching her in the head and body. When the social worker fell to the floor, Hawea continued to punch her. The lawyer had to intervene to stop the attack.
Hawea then left the room, leaving her victim lying injured on the ground.
The social worker needed a month off work to recover.
Lawyer Richard Bedford said Hawea had lost custody of her children because of her addiction to alcohol. He said she was hopeful that she would be able to care for the new baby herself with the help of CYF.
Judge Gregory Ross said for Hawea to have any success in raising her next child, she needed to be away from all substances and in care.
Away from court, Child, Youth and Family central regional director Tania Harris said it was an appalling incident.
"The social worker was shaken and upset by the ordeal," she said.
"Our staff play a valuable role in helping to protect vulnerable children. It's appalling that anyone can be attacked while carrying out their duties."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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