The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports Index

1993 Jan-May

Television New Zealand
April 6 1993

Maggie Barry

Anne Caton, Social Welfare programme manager and Michael Marris, child and family expert debate the system involved in child abuse cases following today's acquittal of child abuse charges against Christchurch Civic Child Care Centre creche workers.


00:00      I/V Anne Caton, Social Welfare Programme Manager for the Young Persons, Children and Their Families National Office debating with Michael Marris the system involved in child abuse cases highlighted by today's acquittal of child abuse charges against Christchurch Civic Child Care Centre creche workers re I don't think there are particular problems with the system, child sexual abuse by its very nature is difficult to deal with, it's important to get it right for the child's safety and for the accused, but we are relying on the child's word, about something that happens in secret.

I/V Michael Marris, child and family expert re my issue is with the level of clinical expertise which appears lacking in Social Welfare who has limited resources and also in the Family Court system, the Christchurch ladies today are victims of lack of clinical expertise and are lucky their charges weren't heard behind the closed doors of the Family Court.

I/V Anne Caton re the time frame in the court system is of concern to everybody involved, children who are witnesses have to relive a difficult and painful time of their lives again, differences between Family Court and criminal court.

I/V Michael Marris re one should treat the allegations (raised in the Christchurch case) with enormous caution, this has not been done, there's been enormous publicity, so that the children and today's acquitted women have become victims.

I/V Anne Caton re the decision to press criminal charges is a police decision.

I/V Michael Marris interrupting re that's a real cop-out, that's saying the department isn't responsible for its clinical workers, and it must be.

I/V Anne Caton re any child sexual abuse is dealt with jointly by the police and our service to ensure the protection and criminal elements are dealt with, if we do the interview, we get the child to tell the story clearly and simply, that is accountable evidence on video or audio tape, our job is to do the interview well.

I/V Anne Caton re there is always room for improvement and development and people work hard to increase skills.

I/V Michael Marris re we must improve our clinical expertise, they must know about children, family dynamics and the whole psychology of human operation .

5:52        END.