'Three minute silence' against child abuse

Last updated 00:00 06/08/2007

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People are being asked to stop what they are doing and stay silent for three minutes on Wednesday in a nationwide stand against child abuse.
Grisly photos in email petition

Pressure groups said the three minutes represented each of the three years of the latest fatally abused victim's life.

Nia Glassie died in Auckland's Starship Hospital on Friday from head and abdominal injuries.

She had been in a coma and on a life support system since she was transferred from Rotorua Hospital the Sunday before.

Today the Sensible Sentencing Trust, Family First, and For the Sake of Our Children Trust, asked people to stop what they were doing at 12.12pm on Wednesday for three minutes.

They said people should "come out on to the street, outside the office or classroom, stop their car or truck and stand outside their vehicle – and make a symbolic stand against child abuse for three minutes at 12:12pm."

The number 12 was significant because it represented the average number of child abuse deaths each year.

"The three short minutes is an opportunity for each person to reflect on what each one of us can do to be part of the solution to our unacceptable rate of child abuse."

They also asked all radio stations to play the Destiny Child song, Stand Up For Love, during the three minutes. The song was the Anthem for the World Children's Day in 2005.

The three trusts said each week another New Zealand child's "precious life is extinguished or damaged because violent parents or caregivers will not meet or can not cope with their responsibilities.

"We are sick and tired of doing nothing while our babies and children are being beaten and murdered.

"We have allowed violent adults the right to silence, bail and parole, while babies' rights go undefended."

They said political correctness had got in the way of speaking the truth and even after numerous inquiries and a government commissions appointed to oversee and intervene, New Zealand still had one of the worst rates of child abuse in the world.

The trusts launched a five-point action plan:

  • The setting up of a non-political commission of inquiry consisting of community leaders already working with at-risk families to identify effective and achievable solutions to child abuse

  • An immediate increase in support for grass-root community organisations working with at-risk families

  • Increased investment in parenting and marriage programmes;

  • A media-based anti-child abuse campaign

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  • Tougher sentences for those who abuse or kill children.

    - NZPA

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