In Loving Memory of Nia Glassie and so many others… a Song and an Article for Child Abuse Prevention Month

Nia Collage

By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

In 2008 New Zealanders were outraged as they heard details of the death of three year old Rotorua girl Nia Glassie.  Nia was subject to extensive physical abuse for weeks, possibly even months, before being admitted to hospital and dying of brain injuries on 3 August 2007. The court concluded she had been kicked, beaten, slapped, jumped on, held over a burning fire, had wrestling moves copied from a computer game practiced on her, spat on, placed into a clothes dryer spinning at top heat for up to 30 minutes, folded into a sofa and sat on, shoved into piles of rubbish, dragged through a sandpit half-naked, flung against a wall, dropped from a height onto the floor, and whirled rapidly on an outdoor rotary clothes line until she fell off. (Source: Wikipedia, see link below).

CAP monthAs we move to the end of April as Child Abuse Prevention month, we remember children like Nia– unfortunately her case is only one of many in Aotearoa/New Zealand and around the world.  We remember children who have lost their lives to abuse, children who have grown into adults haunted by their past abuse, children removed from abusive situations and still working through what has happened to them, as well as all those still living with abuse of all kinds.  We remember them in April and throughout the year.  We are aware of them, we respectfully acknowledge them.

Child abuse, indeed abuse of one another through many kinds of violence (including war), ranks high on the list of bleak traits of humanity.  Animals put the survival of their offspring as top priority: generally they only kill their young in a situation where it is necessary to do so for the sake of the survival of the others.  Our human world is, it seems, less black and white.  Our 0073783ccdcb1ee8c41c6a0b0e5b828echildren need care for a long period of time and bringing them up can mean parents temporarily or permanently giving up goals and aspirations they held for themselves.  Social isolation (extended families are not always as near at hand to help as they may have been in previous generations), financial pressures, unemployment, relationship issues between adults, poor housing, poverty, mental health issues, drug and/or alcohol problems and a family history of child abuse or neglect can all contribute to an unsafe environment for our children (that is not to say that these factors being present necessarily result in child abuse, or that in absence of these factors there cannot be child abuse).

It is not a comfortable thing to think or talk about child abuse.  I guess this, along with people wondering what any one individual can do against statistics, may be one reason why so many people just prefer to “get on with their own lives” and “mind their own business”.  However apathy and separation won’t make this problem disappear– quite the reverse is true.


We at “The Forever Years” believe that it takes, as the saying goes, “a community to raise a child”.  This includes everything from local neighbourhoods right through to our national and global families.  We are all interlinked and living as though we are “separate” from one another, creating more isolation, is not conducive to helping prevent abuse of our children.  We are all one, all children are “our children”, we are responsible for children everywhere, not only for those we have biologically created.

As individuals and a community we can help prevent more abuse by being there for children who might otherwise “fall through the cracks.”  At grass roots level we can take pressure off other parents, form networks of friends and neighbours and at a wider level we can raise awareness and campaign for changes.  We need to have courage too, to speak out about abuse we are aware of, including reporting it where necessary, for the sake of the child or children involved.

We can dare to hope and to strive for a better world for all our children.



The following video is the song Nia, by Maisey Rika.  We at “The Forever Years” feel this song is a tribute not only to Nia Glassie, but also to abused children everywhere (both living and dead).   I will put the words to the song below the video. Along with the video, we will put pictures of some of the many children from around the world whose lives have been cut short as a result of abuse and domestic violence.  Rest in peace, precious little ones.

Lyrics to “Nia” (A song by Maisey Rika)

(Verse 1)

Nia, sets my soul on fire
Justice enforce punishment
Too young, a cry her only defence
Nia, sets my soul on fire
Justice enforce punishment
To little seen unknown, known too late


I see red, I see red, I see red, I see red
Oh do all a favour, throw out the key


On eagles wings, lay your body to sleep
On eagles wings, may you sleep, may you sleep

(Verse 2)

Nia, te taonga, tangihia
Tiaho mai te pono
Hoki atu raa ki o Matua Tiipuna
Nia, te taonga, tangihia
Tiaho mai te pono
Hoki atu raa ki a Io Matua


(Chorus) x2


She’s gone to that place
That big wide open space
Never again will she grace us
With her beautiful face
Go to them, go to them, go to them
Go to them, go to them, go to them




Related Links:,-families-and-young-people/child-protection/about-child-abuse/what-is-child-abuse/what-are-the-causes-of-child-abuse


One thought on “In Loving Memory of Nia Glassie and so many others… a Song and an Article for Child Abuse Prevention Month

  1. Reblogged this on The Forever Years and commented:

    As we move into April, international Child Abuse Prevention Month, this article challenges us to dare NOT to turn a blind eye and to protect all our children, everywhere.

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