Home > Abuse, Child Abuse, Neglect, Punishment, Torture > 5-month old baby boy’s groin pierced with safety pin.

5-month old baby boy’s groin pierced with safety pin.

A Hastings mother has pleaded guilty to assaulting three of her children, including piercing the groin of her 5-month-old son with a safety pin. Article continues below:

Mother pierced toddler’s groin with safety pin.

Michelle Jane Donaldson, 39, appeared in Hastings District Court and admitted assaulting a 15-year-old daughter, sons aged 9 and 5 and her partner in offending that occurred over a three-year period beginning in 2008. Her convictions were entered on Tuesday, the same day news broke that a 10-week-old baby had been admitted to Hawke’s Bay Hospital with “significant non-accidental injuries”, thought to include multiple fractures.

It was also the day manslaughter accused Trent Hapuku appeared briefly in High Court at Napier. Hapuku is charged in relation to the suspicious death of 5-month-old Flaxmere girl Mikara Reti.

Donaldson’s convictions, including common assault, assault with a blunt instrument and two counts of assault on a child, arose from striking her daughter across the back with a broomstick, knocking out two of her son’s teeth by punching him in the mouth, slapping her 5-month-old son to the head with such force it caused him to roll onto his side, forcibly thrusting a feed bottle into his mouth after he refused to feed and piercing his skin with a safety pin while changing his nappy.

It’s understood the woman approached police and confessed to the offending, admitting she had a problem. She told officers she became angry and “loses it” and lashes out at whatever is in front of her. Her children were now living with family members. A court order banned her from associating with the children.

Judge Geoff Rea remanded her on bail and ordered a pre-sentence report before her sentencing next month. The charge of assault on a child carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment. Hawke’s Bay DHB paediatric clinical director Dr Philip Moore said while there had been a “significant drop” in the number of non-accidental injury admissions of children to Hawke’s Bay Hospital since 2006, there were still “distressing cases”.

“We wished we lived in a society where this never happened,” he said. Hospital staff were trained to consider the diagnosis of all injuries and ask the “tough questions”. Children’s Commissioner John Angus said it was impossible to say a disproportionate number of children were physically abused in Hawke’s Bay.

“No region in New Zealand is immune from child abuse,” Mr Angus said. “I don’t think it is useful to label an area any better or worse in terms of the way children are treated.”

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