The CYF report released today “Children at Increased Risk of Death from Maltreatment and Strategies for Prevention” reinforces what Family First has been saying.
The report identified the factors which signaled greater risk for children including poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and family breakdown. This is consistent with the 2003 UNICEF report on maltreatment deaths.
Statistics also showed that children living in households with an adult unrelated to them were almost 50 times as likely to die of an inflicted injury as those living with two biological parents! (consistent with research from the University of Chicago and the University of Missouri-Columbia published in Nov 2005.)
“Family First has consistently highlighted these factors, especially the breakdown of the family unit,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First, “as being the real causes of our high rate of child abuse, rather than the superficial solution of targeting s59 of the Crimes Act.”
The NZ Council of Christian Social Services is quite correct when it says in its report that “there is a failure at the political and departmental level to understand or remain committed to an understanding of the fundamentals of how families and communities operate.”
“This is the reason that the recent “Every Child Counts” Conference has continued to remain irrelevant in the discussion on dealing with Child Abuse because of its obsession with smacking!” says Mr McCoskrie. “A recent Swedish government report stated “A weak family economy stands out as the background factor most closely associated with child abuse, sexual abuse, and bullying. The worse the family economy, the greater the risk of abuse.”
Family First repeats its call for better community investment in
providing relationship, marriage and parenting education and early intervention support so that families have optimal chances for success, reducing the stress on families and the unacceptable level of domestic violence
building an economy that is family-friendly – that doesn’t financially penalise a stay-home parent, that allows greater flexibility in workplace culture to cater for family needs, and provides tax breaks for families to offset declining housing affordability, and rising education, health and living costs.
adopting a zero tolerance to substance abuse including alcohol and all illicit drugs