Response shows concern for kids

IAN ALLEN
Last updated 09:35 28/02/2013

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Overwhelming public response to a child safety seminar in Blenheim has inspired organisers to host a similar event later this year.

More than 300 people attended the Safeguarding Children and Young People forum held at the Elim Church in Burleigh Rd yesterday.

They listened to experts in fields such as nursing, paediatrics, general practice, police and internet health and safety.

Marlborough Police family violence co-ordinator Constable Bridget Taylor said the seminar was about giving people the support and confidence to come forward when they felt a child was being mistreated.

The nature of the seminar was not an easy subject to discuss, Ms Taylor said.

"We have a community that cares. It's about being pro-active and making sure something is done at the top of the cliff rather than at the bottom.

"And if we get a report and the investigation comes back negative, that's fantastic." People in the community saw what was happening to children before police or the various agencies involved, she said.

"This is about equipping people so they know what to do. That's what will get results."

Child, Youth and Family differential response co-ordinator Bronwyn Hutcheson said the speakers were astonished by the turnout to the seminar.

The Safeguarding Children Initiative had brought the experts together to talk to the Marlborough community about keeping children safe, Ms Hutcheson said.

They had decided to host the seminar after attending a similar event in Nelson.

Marlborough Women's Refuge child advocate Anne Collins said they decided to introduce people from different Marlborough agencies that deal with child safety to the audience, made up of health, social and education workers.

"It's about putting a face to the name so people feel they have a connection. We also want the different organisations talking to each other. We don't want to deal with these issues in isolation."

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