A Life Too Short: Child death by homicide in New Zealand: An examination of incidence and statutory child protection actions.
Thesis DisciplineSocial Work
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Using secondary analysis methodology - a statistical analysis of Police data - this study examines the annual incidence and patterns of child (0-14 years) death by homicide in New Zealand in the decade 1991-2000, and identifies the similarities and differences ofthese with an earlier New Zealand study and with international patterns. The study then determines the number of victims of child homicide with whom the New Zealand child care and protection service had had significant contact during the years 1996-2000, this period being chosen because of the availability of comprehensive case records. The report describes the New Zealand child care and protection legislative scheme and delineates the phases of an investigation undertaken by the Department of Child Youth and Family Services, identifying the possible practice errors attendant with each phase. Using qualitative analysis of case reviews undertaken by the Department of Child Youth and Family Services, the study investigates when deaths have occurred: during intake and prior to investigation; during an investigation; or during an intervention; and identifies the incidence of practice error. The findings of the two parts of the study are integrated using a systems perspective that discusses the influences of family, professional, organisational and community systems on child homicide. The report concludes with the implications of this analysis for child care and protection policy, practice and research. The findings of the study are discussed together with the implications for child protection practice.