The New Zealand doctor's role in child sexual abuse intervention: A legal analysis
This paper examines the New Zealand health professional’s role (with an emphasis on doctors) in several aspects of child sexual abuse intervention and treatment. Both current and proposed legal provisions are considered. After an explanation of their important role in this area, the current child protection framework insofar as it is relevant to health professionals is outlined. This is followed by an analysis of changes proposed in the Government’s White Paper for Vulnerable Children and Vulnerable Children Bill which will affect the landscape in which health professionals work. While there are benefits to proposed measures, some raise privacy and ethical concerns, or are inadequate to address the problem. The paper then addresses the legal requirements around the undertaking of medical examinations following a sexual abuse allegation, observing that the legislation raises questions around issues of consent, and making some suggestions for amendment. Finally, the general healthcare needs of adult survivors of abuse are considered.