Family violence: Children most at risk from mothers

NZ Herald 25 Sep 2012
Children are far more likely to be killed by their mothers than any other category of offender, a new police review of family violence cases shows. Police have released a review of the circumstances surrounding 95 family violence incidents which caused 101 deaths since 2004. The report is not an exhaustive analysis of family violence incidents, but does provide information about trends in offending. It found mothers killed 15 of the 33, or 45 per cent, of the child victims identified in the report – far more than any other category of offender. In five cases, the mother concealed her pregnancy and then killed the baby after birth. The other children killed by their mothers died by drowning, physical assault or in a murder/suicide. Nearly 80 per cent of the child victims lived in the same house as their attacker and many had significant historical injuries. Police said incapable parenting was a factor in a number of the family violence deaths of babies or young children.

Children most often killed by mothers
Otago Daily Times
New Zealand mothers kill more children than any other group in society and men are victims of domestic violence as often as women, a police investigation has found.  The Family Violence Death Review, released today by police, found mothers were responsible for 45 per cent of children killed by domestic violence. The review of 95 family violence deaths involving 101 victims between 2004 and 2011 revealed some “inconvenient truths”, Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said. He said the statistics debunked the misleading popular perception “that women and children need to be protected from men”. “This gender focus is misleading,” Mr McCoskrie said. “If we’re really serious about reducing family violence, we need to talk about … our violent culture and the role alcohol and drugs play in fuelling this environment.”

…..University of Otago Professor David Fergusson, an expert on domestic violence, said the public perception that men were the perpetrators of most domestic violence was the result of biased publicity. “The proper message is that both gender groups have a capacity for domestic violence [and] women probably perpetrate more assaults on children then men do,” Mr Fergusson said. The ramifications are a public health system that tends to overlook male victims of domestic violence. One example was White Ribbon Day, which he had been critical of because it focused on female survivors of domestic violence and there was “no comparable day for male victims”. “It is those biases which have been built into our system right the way through it, largely from feminist rhetoric that implies that males are always to blame. “The bottom line is the importance of public policy being based on evidence.” Mr Fergusson said dealing with child abuse “certainly needs to be a lot more of a priority than it’s given”. Education should be the cornerstone for parents, particularly to learn how to cope with the stresses associated with a newborn. “I think that by a series of programs targeted at teaching parents better skills, giving them support, we can minimise the risk of child abuse.”

Startling family violence figures
Newstalk ZB 25 Sep 2012
The Director of Family First says the latest statistics on family violence are hard to stomach. Between 2004 and September last year, 101 people died from family violence. Bob McCoskrie says it’s startling that most of the 33 children killed were killed by their mothers. He says it shows our focus so far, has been all wrong. “Statistics just show that we really haven’t tackled the root causes of family violence in our community and unfortunately I think the gender focus has meant that we’ve missed some of the real causes.”