Family First NZ has re-released its 5-point Action Plan to tackle the high rates of child abuse in NZ, originally released mid-2007 when the Nia Glassie tragedy first was revealed and at the time of the 3-minute Stand of Silence held around the country and supported by thousands and thousands of NZ’ers last year.
“Every single day, another child’s precious life is extinguished or damaged because of violent parents or caregivers,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Yet despite all the Government groups appointed to oversee and intervene, New Zealand still has one of the worst rates of child abuse in the world.”
“The reason? The bottom line is that over the last 30 years we have allowed a succession of policies to diminish the significance of family structure and marriage. We have watched as politicians gave violent adults the right to silence, bail and parole, while the rights of children went undefended. We have allowed political correctness to get in the way of speaking the truth about the real causes of child abuse. We have allowed children to be raised in homes with an unacceptable level of violence, drug abuse, family dysfunction, and emotional harm. And we have allowed the media to fill our minds with increasing levels of sexual and violent content in the name of entertainment and freedom of speech. When our families are messed up, our nation is messed up,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First NZ is calling for the implementation of a 5-point Action Plan which can be seen at www.stoptheabuse.org.nz :
I. Establishing a non-political Commission of Inquiry comprising community leaders who are already working with at-risk families. They will identify effective and achievable solutions to child abuse after examining the role of drug and alcohol abuse, family structure and breakdown, race-based issues, poverty and stress, and other factors.
2. Immediate increase of support and resourcing of grass-root community organisations who are educating and working with at-risk families – Barnados, Salvation Army, Crosspower Ministries, Homes of Hope, Te Whare Ruruhau 0 Meri and many other charitable groups around the country working within their communities.
3. Increased availability of parenting and marriage programmes such as Parents Inc. Triple P and other early childhood home-based programmes – HIPPY, Early Start, Parents as First Teachers, Plunket Helpline etc.
4. Media-based anti-‘child abuse’ and positive parenting campaign. This would follow the model of the road safety ‘shock’ campaigns and would encouraging positive parenting and the identifying of real child abuse.
5. Sentencing for those who abuse and kill our children to be substantially toughened to provide both a deterrent and a clear message of our community’s disgust with the actions of people who abuse children