Ignoring the ‘elephant in the room’

From the NZ Herald

Children in poorer neighbourhoods are being admitted to hospital as victims of assault, neglect or maltreatment at a rate more than five times that of children in wealthier neighbourhoods, a report has found. The Children’s Social Health Monitor’s 2011 findings show hospital admissions arising from “assault, neglect or maltreatment” were 5.6 times higher for those in the most deprived areas, Otago University child and youth epidemiology service director Dr Elizabeth Craig said.

Mortality from sudden unexpected death in infancy was 7.4 times higher for those living in the most deprived areas, the report found. Infant mortality rates were also higher for Maori and Pacific Island infants, and those with mothers younger than 30. The report found 20.4 per cent or 234,572 children were reliant on a benefit in April. In 2008, there were 201,083 children relying on a benefit.

Questions they didn’t ask – and won’t…
1. what role has family structure and decreasing marriage rates played
2. what role is the increasing rates of cohabitation having?
3. what is the relationship between family structure and rates of abuse?
4. what does the research show about family structure and poverty?
etc etc

This is why publications from the Child Poverty Action Group should be ignored – they’ll tell you what you already know, but they’re way too ideologically flawed to confront the real problems and their causes.

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3 comments for “Ignoring the ‘elephant in the room’

  1. Donella Coulter
    30 August 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Poverty itself certainly does not cause child abuse. We need to be looking at what causes poverty.That could get a bit personal , messy and scary so no one wants to go there.

  2. Margaret
    30 August 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks for some sensible comment on this Bob.
    “The Children’s Social Health Monitor’s 2011 findings show hospital admissions arising from “assault, neglect or maltreatment” were 5.6 times higher for those in the most deprived areas, Otago University child and youth epidemiology service director Dr Elizabeth Craig said.”
    So, easy equation-poverty equals increased child abuse-NO –
    Some dysfunctions will produce child abuse AND poverty – and more! Is it really so difficult to see beyond what might appear the obvious conclusion? Some of these comments are insulting to our grandparents who neither abused their children or looted properties yet went through incredibly hard times.

  3. Bob
    30 August 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks Margaret

    Other counties have horrendous poverty yet they do not have the rates of child abus that we have. Also – the lowest income ethnic group is actually Asian, yet they are not beset with the social problems that other ethnic groups have

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