An 0800 number to report child abuse should be considered by the Government, a coroner has recommended following an inquest into the horrific death of 3-year-old Nia Glassie.
Nia died of brain injury in 2007 after being admitted to hospital following weeks of extensive physical abuse from various family members.
The abuse, which escalated in the week preceding her death, included being placed in a clothes dryer spinner, whirled around on an outdoor rotary clothes line, and wrestling moves performed on her.
Following a four-week trial in the High Court at Auckland 2008, Nia's mother, Lisa Michelle Kuka, was found guilty of manslaughter, and her partner, Wiremu Curtis, and his brother, Michael, were found guilty of murder.
Nia's cousin Michael Pearson and Michael Curtis's partner Oriwa Kemp were found not guilty on manslaughter charges but were convicted of child cruelty.
The High Court noted the abuse was regarded by the perpetrators as being for their amusement and incidents such as the clothes line incident, were started as a game.
Coroner Wallace Bain's report into her death, released today, said he found the facts of the case "chilling".
"In my 19 years of conducting inquests as a judge in the coroner's court I have never had to endure such horrendous evidence.
"My earnest wish is that no one ever has to experience that again."
He noted New Zealand's huge child abuse problem and the price it was costing the country.
"It is sickening that it takes a case like Nia Glassie and all of the things that happened to her to act as a final wake-up call.
"In my view it is the biggest and most shameful problem facing our nation. Child abuse is an epidemic."
The country needed to devote every resource it could to preventing child abuse, he said.
His findings included an extensive list of recommendations which he sent to the Ministers of Social Development and Justice with the request they were implemented.
He recommended the Government took urgent steps to ensure witnesses reported child abuse immediately and said there should be significant penalties for failing to do so.
He recommended an 0800 number with anonymity provided for reporting abuse.
Mr Bain also called for all children from birth to be compulsorily registered with government agencies and health providers and that they be monitored through to, and including, the age of five.