Reality Check Needed on Shameful Child Abuse

Media Release 10 Dec 2011
Family First is rejecting claims by the Children’s Commissioner and others that rising child abuse statistics are ‘good news’ and ‘delightful’, and is repeating its call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into child abuse as a result of continuing ‘tragic’ figures.

“It is time we stopped ‘marketing’ child abuse statistics and trying to give them a positive spin, under the illusion that we are succeeding. We need a reality check,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The rates of child abuse have been rocketing up for the last decade – even before the flawed anti-smacking law was passed and the Family Violence awareness campaign began. Between 2003 and 2007 alone, notifications more than doubled from 31,000 to 72,000. The latest statistics give no confidence that children are any safer.”

“To label our atrocious statistics as ‘good news’ and ‘delightful’ is an insult to the victims. Government groups cannot attribute the increase to greater awareness and better practice. The rates have been increasing markedly well before the public awareness campaigns, and the increase in admissions to Starship Hospital alone are proof that the problem is deterioriating.”

“Alcohol and drug abuse are rampant in dysfunctional homes, family breakdown is a festering sore, and there is increasing violence in our culture. These are all signs that things will get worse before they get better.”

“We have had Commission of Inquiries this year into the Pike river tragedy, the collapse of buildings and consequent loss of life in the Christchurch earthquake – yet no inquiry into one of the greatest social problems facing the country.”

“There seems to be no political party who is willing to front up to this issue on the scale required. Since the passing of the anti-smacking law, there have been at least 31 child abuse deaths. The rate continues unabated.”

“The ongoing rates of child abuse are a wake-up call that children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse. An independent Inquiry free of political correctness and point-scoring is essential. We need long-term solutions to a problem that has existed for far too long,” says Mr McCoskrie.


2 comments for “Reality Check Needed on Shameful Child Abuse

  1. DivaDays
    9 December 2011 at 11:52 pm

    I think the Anti-smacking law just enabled more people to ‘dob in’ everyone who is seen to be disciplining a child, no matter in what context. So that might account for some of the rise in reportings. But what to do about the cause of children being bashed and tortured to death? Nothing will ever be done properly unless, like you said, a political party is willing to step up and face the REAL reasons behind it all.

    But the question is…What are the real reasons?

    I think a lot of it stems from this cycle of poverty. Money is thrown AT the problem but noone has ever stood up and said ‘Hang on, why are we not helping people to help themselves?’ Give people some dignity and self respect and that alone will work wonders. This isn’t about what happened a couple of hundred years ago, this is about the present.
    WINZ needs to stop being racially biased and help EVERY race, not just Maori and Pacific Islanders, and I say that from experience in relation to being turned down for food grants, study financial help (that would enable me to upskill and get a suitable job to fit in with my sons disabilities) and I am not alone in this fight for help to get a hand up (not a hand out).
    Those who want to help themselves to get out of their present situations, and this is right across the board in terms of all races, are turned down for assistance, but if you go in wanting to learn some frivolous “skill” which won’t lead to employment, they are all over it with help and study grants, business grants etc. So that would be the first step.

    The second would be to give the schools extra funding to help them with the food they have to buy to feed these kids as they are not getting fed at home. That money could come from the benefits directly to the school…say, $10 a week…(that would buy bread, milk and weetbix). Stop all the millions being wasted on inane programs which aren’t working. Stop the racist biased behaviours of saying that only Maori and Pacific Island people are poor and need more help.

    Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows that it is not ok to beat a child, they also know that to be healthy, less fat and sugar is needed and more exercise (like walking) is required to help shift weight. If there is enough money to buy boxes and boxes of booze and copious amounts of drugs and KFC each week, then there is enough to buy food for your kids.
    If the benefits aren’t being used as they are intended – to help a sole parent to care for the child/children in their care, then take the food money out of that benefit before it is given and hand it out in food grants. Simple. For those who DO feed their kid/s etc, then leave them alone. Make consequences for poor actions. It is the only thing to shake people out of this stupor and sense of entitlement. Make it less “attractive” for the youth to think it is an “easy ride” to be on welfare. Make contraception mandatory.

    If you have one child and MUST/NEED to be on welfare, then an IUD, or depo or the slow release capsule (inserted in the arm) should be required. The snip for the guys if they wish. This would be free. Just take some of those wasted millions and put it to good use.

    And when it comes to the people who ‘smash’ kids so badly they die, or repeatedly over time who then die… some people are just born mongrels. There is NO excuse for their actions. NONE. To bash a kid to death is one of the most heinous crimes in this society. It is equal to raping a child. Those who do either do not, and I mean this wholeheartedly, deserve to be breathing the same air as the rest of us. They should be shunned and vilified, made to wear their crime on their faces.

    But in this PC society, the criminals have more rights than the victims.
    Just look at the Kahui case. To this day, those two babies have not had justice. Noone has been charged and convicted of their MURDERS. And some people wonder why there was such an outcry over the “mothers” story! Until justice is served, not one person in that family deserve to have any welfare, help, kindness…nothing but police attention and public scrutiny.

    The sentence for these child murderers should be like what Americans would give. LIFE. No parole, no getting out in 5 years or 10 years, but LIFE. Or bring back the death penalty. Why should society keep these disgusting murderers in a fairly luxurious existence when many, many good people struggle on a daily basis?

    Give people some measure of dignity, help those who are desperate to get a hand up, make it mandatory to have some form of contraception, make the sentences for child bashers and murderers very, very severe…extremely severe and bleak, leave good parents alone, this includes those who give a smack where appropriate, and there are times when it IS appropriate(!), stop throwing money AT this problem, stop all the wasteful “programs” which do nothing but line the pockets of the greedy, when a Treaty of Waitangi claim is settled, make a provision that that money is actually meant to go towards helping the Iwi, the people who belong to that tribe. Not line the fat-cats pockets, but to go into the communities and do some good with it. We all have a duty of care toward our young, we should be looking out for our neighbours, but this isn’t happening. The cycle needs to be broken, but it can only be broken when someone stands up and acknowledges the REAL issues behind it. It won’t be an easy call and there will be firce opposition to it and calls of racism and whatnot, but really? Those who claim this are the ones who work very hard at keeping people down. Just have a good long think about that. If the people are not kept down, would they still have a job with so much power and therefore wealth attached to it? No, not so much is what I think. Hard questions need to be asked and answered. It will take a strong person to stand up for the people of this country and say enough is enough.

    Kia Kaha and much Aroha and blessings to every child out there in New Zealand who is facing a night of terror. xx

  2. DivaDays
    10 December 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I would just like to add to my long novel above ^^:

    There are many sole parents who do have a few kids who have been left to fend for themselves on welfare. The husband or partner has taken off or sadly, passed away, or has become injured badly enough that they can no longer work to support their family which then makes being on welfare a needed support system.

    I am not talking about those people, or those whose child has been born with or developed disabilities which exclude working as a viable option.
    There are many, many people who are receiving welfare who are genuine, I would say that most hate it, but know that it is necessary and are therefore grateful for that support.

    I do not believe that reducing benefits is the way to go. This will just make that circle even more vicious. Taking away genuine peoples ability to make choices is also not the way to go. Dignity is a powerful thing.

    Another thing that needs to be sorted is all these people who live with their partners while they both (usually) collect benefits. Again, I am generalising, but that is against the rules and amounts to fraud.
    That mongrel who has just been convicted of murdering baby Cezar, what was going on there?

    There should be help available to those who wish to live with a partner to ease off benefits. Or how on earth is anyone supposed to make positive changes to their situation?

    I also need to include the emotion of fear in this. Fear is a big motivator. It is what people who live for violence thrive on. They keep their women in perpetual states of fear and the kids as well. And the women fear leaving. Desperately fear the consequences of leaving. As the perp has more rights than the victims. The victims are not protected. A piece of paper doesn’t mean a thing to these people. The police can’t do much unless there is a clear threat to safety. The fear of it doesn’t count. A lot of things need to happen before anyone can do anything to help the victims. I do think a new life needs to be given to a lot of these families. It is a big ask, and there will always be those who go back, but if there is no incentive of protection, as complete as possible, (nothing is foolproof 100%), then the victims will live in a very real state of fear for the rest of their lives. And a lot can not take that stress and strain. Some succeed, but they are very strong to begin with.
    *sigh* Nothing is perfect and no system will ever be perfect. That is reality, but there is so much that could be done which isn’t even on the radar of those mean’t to be working for these victims of violence. It is all linked.

    Perhaps the men who perpetrate this violence need something constructive to do to get this energy and violence out of their systems? Too much testosterone? What do they do to ease whatever stressors they feel they have? If a person is physically tired, perhaps the risk of violence will be less? Having something worthwhile to do gives a sense of accomplishment which in turn leads to dignity and self worth/respect increases. Pride in ones family is an extension of that.

    I will be generalising this next bit so please don’t get snotty at this obvious use of gender stereotypes.

    A man comes home from work, demoralised by the boss who has had an unfair go at him in front of workmates or he has been out hanging with some mates all day, he walks in and finds the house a rotting mess, the kids are filthy, snotty and screaming, the kitchen is a sty and no dinner is cooked, the furniture is crappy, there are toys everywhere, and the woman is either at her wits end or is slumped in front of the telly with a beer and either not caring or is beyond caring about it all. The man steps on a lego block. He is already demoralised, he walks in and feels depression sit on his shoulders, and now the dreaded stepping on the lego block…and all hell breaks loose. I wonder how many families encounter this scenario on a daily or weekly basis? The wife cops it because she is “lazy” and the kids cop it because their toys are all over the floor. But the kids get it worse as when they start screaming, it pierces the brain and he really loses it…to just shut them up. He should walk out the door, and in some small part of himself, he knows this, but he doesn’t. He lets loose all his frustrations out on the ones he is coming to see as being the root cause of ‘all his problems’. This man might be a born abuser or he might have just snapped, but it is the following of this that will shape him as a man. Does he seek help or does he look at his cowering family and think smugly to himself “that is how to get the situation under control…I’m the Man!…Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen” (etc).

    The root causes need to be addressed. Reducing of benefits will only make the situations and pressures worse and the ones who will suffer are the kids. THEY are the ones who don’t get fed, or clothed, or loved, or educated.
    The schools are now social services…they have to feed these kids so they will hopefully do better in school and in doing so, do better than their parents. The schools are fighting to give these abused kids the chances they need to make it in this world. They have become surrogate parents and the funding to schools does not reflect this.
    And yet, these ‘parents’ keep having more and more kids that they can’t look after. How is that responsible? Why is it that society then has to raise these kids because their ‘parents’ can’t or won’t?

    This is why I think the mandatory contraception is a needed thing. Help those who are already here to survive and thrive rather than bringing more into the world who will struggle even more. It is sad, but what else to do? Parenting classes don’t do much, anger management classes are the same…and the people have to actually either attend or want to be there to make those changes. And what is the incentive that they see to do so? Their lives will still be crappy, so what’s the point? Yep, the circle continues. Very sad indeed.

    Ok, I have bleated on more than long enough…twice(!) Take care everyone and be kind to each other…

Comments are closed.