Every day, there is an average of around 40 family violence episodes in Canterbury alone – and 61% of those cases involve at least one child under the age of 18, living with the perpetrator or victim.
While police, health professionals, social workers and other dedicated staff are committed to ensuring the safety of families and whānau, organisations don’t often get the chance to get together and talk about what’s working and what isn’t.
The annual South Island Child Health Alliance Child Protection Forum was created to provide this opportunity. On 18 February, a range of paediatricians, family violence intervention coordinators, Oranga Tamariki liaison staff and other interested professionals from across the South Island met in Christchurch, to share best practice and hear from experts in child protection.
The forum was chaired by Canterbury DHB paediatrician Clare Doocey, who gave a presentation on the challenges for agencies and staff working in this field, titled When does it go wrong? Other speakers included Leanne McSkimming, director of Canterbury District Integrated Safety Response to Family Violence, as well as Helen Fraser, the Ministry of Health Violence Intervention Programme (VIP) portfolio manager, who spoke about the challenges, changes and future of the programme.
Kimberley Thomson, a Canterbury DHB paediatric radiologist, presented on Dating fractures in cases of suspected child abuse.The event provided a chance to network and spark discussion, says Pene Kingsford, Clinical Manager of the Child Safety Service. “I think it’s a great opportunity for us to meet, collaborate, listen and talk about our processes, thoughts and ideas – that’s how we upskill and facilitate change.”