Ethnic label attached to child abuse

Sunday Star Times 12/06/2011

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.