The UNICEF report released overnight is of no surprise to pro-family organisations who have been concerned about the rise of children’s rights, while at the same time children’s basic needs are not being met.
“Recent reports of mothers being discharged from hospital immediately after giving birth, the under-funding of crucial services like Plunketline and HIPPY, and the lack of follow-up regarding immunisations for children are all examples of basic core services which children are missing out on,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The claimed link between smacking and child abuse has also been dealt another blow, with the UNICEF report quite correctly stating “the likelihood of a child being injured or killed is associated with poverty, single-parenthood, low maternal education, low maternal age at birth, poor housing, weak family ties, and parental drug or alcohol abuse.””
Mr McCoskrie says the proposed banning of smacking will have no effect on these factors at all, and simply diverts attention away from the real issues.
“Our high teenage birth rate – now the 2nd highest in the OECD and almost double the OECD average – proves the failure of groups like Family Planning and the supposed “safe sex” message,” says Mr McCoskrie. “It is now time we expected wise decisions from our young people and taught them the benefits of delaying sexual activity.”
As the report states: “Pregnancy has become a significant problem: giving birth at too young an age is now associated with wideranging disadvantage for both mother and child – including a greater likelihood of dropping out of school, of having no or low qualifications, of being unemployed or low-paid, and of living in poor housing conditions.”
The breakdown of the family and its effect is also clearly evident in the report. The UK and US have the highest rates of children living in single-parent families and step-families, resulting in the worst overall rates of behaviour and risk-taking activities such as obesity, substance abuse, violence and sexual risk-taking.
“With the OECD average of single-parent families being 12.7%, and NZ’s recent Census showing 30% of families with children being led by a single-parent, the effect of neglecting the family structure and its effect on our children is plain to see,” says Mr McCoskrie