Research NZ 24 Feb 2012
In May 2011, Research New Zealand conducted a poll investigating opinions about the reasons for New Zealand’s high level of child abuse. Research New Zealand decided to repeat the poll in February 2012, but expanding the question to include the role of law enforcement and the effectiveness of the social support agencies. We also decided to include the so-called ‘Cinderella Effect’ (i.e. the demonstrated higher probability of child abuse being perpetrated by a non-biological parent, particularly a male non-biological parent, or boyfriend, of the biological mother).
In general, respondents considered there were a range of reasons for New Zealand’s high level of child abuse. Over one-half of everyone who was interviewed gave the following reasons:
* 58 percent believed the reasons were cultural (51 percent in May 2011).
* 56 percent believed it had to do with the experience of parents (36 percent in May 2011).
* 55 percent believed it was economically related (34 percent in May 2011).
* 51 percent believed it had to do with the lack of effective support for the parents of children at risk (no May 2011 result available).
A significant proportion (41 percent) of respondents also felt New Zealand’s high level of child abuse had to do with the male partner not being the biological parent of the child that was abused, while lack of effective enforcement of the laws against child abuse was thought by 37 percent of respondents to be an issue.