Media Release 12 February 2014
Family First NZ says that the statistics in the Salvation Army Report related to child abuse in New Zealand represent a terminal cancer desperate for aggressive treatment.
“The report makes grim reading and is a wake-up call that children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to tackle the root causes of child abuse – especially rotten parents,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“They also confirm that the anti-smacking law has been a complete failure which has simply wasted valuable time and resource of agencies distracted from dealing with actual child abuse and dysfunctional parents.”
The Salvation Army report shows the horrifying statistics: In the past five years, between 2008 (just after the anti-smacking law was passed) and 2013:
- recorded offences of violence, sexual assaults and neglect of children rose 68%; more serious child assaults have increased by 83%
- recorded sexual offences against children rose 43% and child neglect rose by 42%
- notifications to CYF have risen 66% (nearly 60,000 higher)
- cases of substantiated child abuse or neglect rose by 41% over the past five years
“The rates of child abuse are a national disgrace, and it’s time that we stopped beating around the bush about its causes. We must tackle head-on the issues of alcohol and drug abuse, family dysfunction and breakdown, declining marriage rates, and violence in our media and culture. It’s also essential that we remove political posturing and point-scoring from the process. Since the passing of the much-vaunted anti-smacking law, the rate of child abuse deaths has continued unabated,” says Mr McCoskrie.
““We must stop tip-toeing around these issues. We must take pro-active action and tackle head-on the difficult issues as well as mental illness, low maternal age, and other key factors identified by UNICEF and CYF reports.”
“The Salvation Army report is a wake-up call that things are not getting better – they’re getting far worse.”