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Independent cross-agency child abuse review released

01 December 2022.

A review of how government agencies identify and respond to suspected child abuse has been released today.

The review, led by Dame Karen Poutasi, was in response to the death of five-year-old Malachi Subecz in November 2021. Malachi’s caregiver later pleaded guilty to his murder.

Dame Karen looked at whether the children’s system as a whole should have done more to prevent harm being done to Malachi, and what improvements can be made.

She identified critical gaps in the system and made 14 recommendations.

The review was commissioned by the chief executives of Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children, New Zealand Police, the Department of Corrections, and the ministries of Social Development, Education and Health.

The chief executives have acknowledged the report and its recommendations and have acknowledged the pain suffered by Malachi’s family.

Agencies are implementing some recommendations, while others are subject to further advice being provided to Ministers.

MSD, along with the other agencies, provided Dame Karen with a report about its interactions with Malachi and his caregiver.

This consisted of approving financial support payments and emergency housing support.

Note regarding content

The reports linked to on this page contain distressing information that may be triggering for some people. If you feel you need assistance, you may find the following links useful.

Find family violence services from the Family Services Directory for all of New Zealand.

For advice and information about stopping violence in your family, helping people who may be experiencing family violence, and community roles in preventing violence.

If you're concerned about the safety or wellbeing of a child or young person, please contact Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children.

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