Safeguarding Children CEO Willow Duffy is continually seeking opportunity to improve child safety and well-being. Willow’s latest advocacy work has been to make a submission regarding the Emergency Management Bill.
When passed, the Emergency Management Bill will create the new legal framework within which Aotearoa New Zealand can prepare for, deal with and recover from local, regional and national emergencies. This Bill seeks to replace the now two decades old Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002.
Currently, regional emergency response plans include specific measures to meet the needs of pets and livestock but do not address those of children. As evidenced during international events, perpetrators of sexual abuse will seek voluntary roles in the rescue and immediate emergency response phase to take advantage of children while they are most vulnerable.
Recognising the unique challenges faced by child and young people in emergencies, Willow’s submission identifies three key areas to ensure:
a) children’s needs are specifically provided for in Emergency Management Committee (EMC) plans;
b) EMCs consult with people with special knowledge of children’s needs in emergency situations when creating an EMC plan; and
c) a representative for children is appointed to each Emergency Management Coordinating Executive (EMCE).