The passing last week of the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 2) creates an offence of failing to take reasonable steps to protect a child or vulnerable adult from the risk of death, grievous bodily harm, or sexual assault. The offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

This is part of the National-led Government’s plans to better protect our most vulnerable citizens – our children, but it also extends to the elderly – those in care because of their age, sickness, or mental impairment.

As well as the new offence, we have set up dedicated phone and email contacts for teachers to report suspected child abuse directly to Child Youth and Family.

The biggest impact will be to help encourage those in day-to-day contact with endangered children to come forward if they know that serious abuse or neglect is taking place.