“Children deserve to wake up in the morning and feel safe”.
Those are the words of ACT’s children’s spokesperson after shocking details emerged around the death of two-year-old baby Ruthless-Empire this week.
On Thursday police launched a homicide investigation into the death of Ruthless-Empire Souljah-Reign Rhind Shepherd Wall, who they say was killed by blunt force trauma.
“This level of violence towards a child is difficult to fathom, and we will work hard to ensure a thorough investigation is carried out to determine exactly what happened,” said Detective Inspector Nick Pritchard on Thursday.
Police believe baby Ru was injured twelve hours before he was taken to hospital on Sunday.
Three adults are being spoken to by police about the homicide, one a direct relative and two others who are part of the extended family.
ACT MP and children’s spokesperson Karen Chhour told AM she’s “shed a lot of tears” in her job and has spent days at her desk “wondering how this sort of thing can happen”.
“It’s actually quite distressing for many.”
Chhour said it’s time for Aotearoa to start doing better because Kiwi kids “deserve better”.
“Children deserve to wake up in the morning and feel safe and feel loved. Children don’t deserve to be abused and neglected by the people that are supposed to be caring for them.”
She is urging Aotearoa to have “an honest conversation” about our nation’s problem with child abuse.
“People are standing by watching it happen and not speaking up, and we as a society really need to do better.”
Det Insp Pritchard told media there are “varying degrees” of engagement from the three persons of interest.
Chhour told AM there’s “always a place for the right to silence” but said there have to be people who live near the Lower Hutt address, or family members who know something.
“I encourage people to speak up. I’ve seen people in this situation, and I know it may be family and it may be people you truly care about,” she said.
“But we can’t bring back this child, nothing is going to bring back this child, but we have to make sure it doesn’t continue to happen.”
Watch Chhour’s full interview above.