It’s not about ethnicity – it’s about family structure

The Sunday Star Times publishes a poll on child abuse

A survey showing half of New Zealanders believe the cause of child abuse is ethnically based has left a national expert in the field frustrated but not surprised. Research New Zealand, an independent New Zealand-owned research company, last month conducted a survey on how New Zealanders view the causes of child abuse, asking respondents to rank the factors they believed most contributed to the problem. Just over half the 503 people polled said child abuse was a cultural issue, while parental experience and economic factors shared equal status at about a third each. (People were able to nominate multiple factors.) Anthea Simcock, chief executive and founder of Child Matters, a Hamilton-based charitable trust dedicated to stopping violence against children, said there was no “silver bullet” that could solely explain child abuse. “Child abuse is very complex and has a complex set of causes. Rather than understand the complexity, people find it easier to simplify the reasons it happens,” she said. Simcock did not agree with the survey results, but was not surprised by them.

Child abuse is not an ethnic issue. It’s a family structure issue. A child is far far more at risk of being a victim of child abuse if it does not live with its biological married parents. – up to 50 times more at risk. If we want to tackle the problem of child abuse, we need to promote strong marriages and stable relationships. Unfortunately, Maori have one of the worst rates of unmarried pregnancies and solo parenting.


and from the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4) Report to Congress – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2010