Maori child abuse blamed on alcohol, drugs

NZ Herald August 31, 2007
More than 40 per cent of people believe alcohol and drugs are the main reason for the rate of Maori child abuse being twice the national average. The latest Herald-DigiPoll found that 43.4 per cent of people blame alcohol and drugs for the high rate, but less than 20 per cent view unemployment and poverty as the main reason. Children’s advocates agree with the findings, saying alcohol and drugs are a primary ingredient in the “toxic cocktail” that has produced the poor rates of child abuse among Maori. But Maori leaders and social workers say the problem is complex, and a loss of family, land and tribal connections play a bigger role than perceived by the poll respondents.Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro said the poll had correctly identified alcohol and drugs as a major factor in child abuse. “It’s not an excuse for why people behave that way, but it increases the risk that they will respond in unreasonable ways.” She said alcohol and drugs, coupled with undiagnosed or untreated mental illness, and stress brought on by unemployment or poverty created “the toxic cocktail that actually contributes to child abuse”.
Family First Comment – This is what we’ve been saying from the beginning, and right through the Smacking debate!!