Rotorua Trust grant to help prevent child abuse

A $25,000 grant from the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust will help protect Rotorua’s most vulnerable children by giving people the skills to identify child abuse, and the confidence to take action if they suspect it.

The Trust has given the grant to Child Matters to carry out courses in Rotorua which will help both people working with children, as well as members of the public. It is one of 17 organisations that received a total of $180,000 in the June round of grants.

Child Matters is a charitable trust that works throughout New Zealand to prevent child abuse.

Chief executive Jane Searle says they have been working with the Rotorua Trust for more than a decade, and without the Trust’s support they simply wouldn’t be able to run the courses they do.

“It shows great commitment to this area.”

Mrs Searle says New Zealand does not require people working with children to undertake training in recognising how to prevent or respond to child abuse.

“The very people who are in the best positions to help protect children have traditionally received no training in how to do so. This is the need that Child Matters’ training has been developed to meet.”

“We often hear these people say the way they work is now different because of what they have learnt at the courses, and that’s what we are about.”

The funding will allow Child Matters to offer two free public workshops – one around identifying and responding to vulnerability and child abuse and the other focused on developing a child protection policy.

It will also subsidise the cost of two five-day child protection studies programmes, which aim to equip professionals with the necessary skills to identify child abuse earlier and the knowledge to report appropriately.

Through the courses, the Rotorua community will be strengthened with more professionals and volunteers trained in child protection, increased awareness of how to keep children safe, and ultimately a community that is better equipped with knowledge and confidence around child abuse issues, Mrs Searle says.

Trust chairman Stewart Edward says the work Child Matters does is crucial to helping prevent child abuse, and the Trust is pleased to help fund this prevention work.

“Sadly, child abuse is as prevalent in Rotorua as it is in many other communities. While being able to spot the symptoms of abuse is one thing, knowing what action to take is another.

“The Child Matters courses provide attendees practical skills to enable something to be done about cases of abuse – helping to protect our young and most vulnerable.”

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