Plea to promote child and youth safety

Counties Manukau Police Community Services Manager Senior Sergeant Mike Fulcher said there were a number of self-harming, anti-social behaviour and other incidents occurring in his District.

“Parents and elders must be vigilant and ensure that their children do not indulge in acts that would bring them physical harm. It is important to inculcate good habits in them. Education is the key,” he said.

Mr Fulcher was speaking at the inaugural session of the Auckland Muslim Convention of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) organised by the South Auckland Muslim Association (SAMA) sat the Papatoetoe High School on November 27.

He said while the Human Rights Act and the Bill of Rights ensured freedom of action and expression for all, such freedom should be exercised with caution.

“Responsibility comes with Rights. I hope our Muslim and other communities will address the connected issues,” he said.

In a number of unrelated incidents, youngsters were targets of text messages, which instruct them to perform a self-harm act. Last fortnight, a 10-year-old boy and two 12-year-old girls died because of self-harming incidents.

One of the girls died after receiving a message, which instructed and dared children to perform a self-harm act. That same day another 12-year-old girl who received the same message was also involved in a self-harming incident.

Counties Manukau Police recently launched the ‘Youth Education Service’ (YES), a new national initiative designed to promote positive values to help children become responsible New Zealanders.

Earlier, FIANZ President Dr Anwar Ghani had emphasised the need to support and guide the younger members of the society.

“They have a right to love from their parents, the right to a nurturing environments and the right to opportunities to achieve their dreams.

Every family, whether wealthy or less well off, has a role and responsibility to bring up well-balanced, upright and confident children. We must plan and wisely use the resources available to us,” he said.

On a related note, in an earlier communication, Mr Fulcher had said youngsters should be taught basic values such as knowing right from wrong and the importance of being honest.

“Too often staff report knowledge of basic values in society is missing along with consequences of actions. Remorse as a result of minor youth offending and at family group conferences is usually because of someone else pointing out the flow-on effects of offending to the victims and the community,” he said.

The teaching programme is divided into five themes: honesty; respect; rules and laws; consequences; right and wrong. Each theme incorporates lessons for junior, middle and senior primary classes.

SAMA President Mohammed Hasim Khan said Muslims in New Zealand understand and appreciate the need to strike a common ground so that we could all be partners in progress and prosperity.

“It is a matter of pride that New Zealanders of other ethnic groups and beliefs accept us as well-meaning and hardworking people, keen to integrate better into the mainstream New Zealand and continue to partake in its growth and development.

“All of us have a duty to perform, not just to our own selves and families, but also to our neighbours, community, society and the country. We should see problems as challenges and conquer them through concerted efforts.

“As a part of our efforts to get closer to various ethnic groups, we organise projects and programmes that involve people in our areas of activity,” he said.

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