Taranaki residents are being urged to join a global protest to show violence against children will not be tolerated.
4 the Kidz chairwoman Carolyn Cragg will lead the peaceful protest in New Plymouth on April 5 calling for tougher sentencing laws for those who abuse and sexually exploit children.
Similar protests are expected to be held throughout New Zealand and were planned for cities around the world, Mrs Cragg said.
"When I shut my eyes against abuse, when I refuse to see abuse, when I refuse to speak up against abuse, I'm as guilty as the abuser," she said.
"If you are an abuser, seek help, if you have been abused, look for help."
A former child abuse sufferer, Mrs Cragg said the issue cut through all sections of society and New Zealand needed to break the cycle.
"I came from abuse and I was a hard mum," she said.
"I didn't have the skills and that cycle continued until I broke it.
"Yelling, screaming and hidings don't work."
According to Child, Youth and Family, there were 326 substantiated cases of child abuse in Taranaki during 2013, which is set against a backdrop of almost 23,000 nationally.
"We have some of the worst statistic for child abuse in the world," Mrs Cragg said.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust is backing the nation-wide protest.
Trust spokesperson for the prevention of child abuse, Nadia Crighton, said the public was crying out for tougher sentencing for those who choose to abuse the next generation.
"This is from the citizens of the world who are sick and tired of the increasing cases of horrific abuse towards children, and the leniency the courts hand out to those abusers."
The Taranaki section of the Protest Against Child Abuse starts at 11am outside the New Plymouth court house on Robe St.
- Taranaki Daily News
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