Sunday, September 09, 2007

Child abuse - keeping perspective

David Farrar has written about Kommissar Kiro's desire to inspect the homes of every New Zealand child. He describes "how desperately bad our child abuse story is," with its "barbaric toll."

I say every life lost (and the intolerable lead up to the loss) is a gut-wrenching waste BUT let's summarise the facts;

- the number of deaths due to intentional injury is decreasing

- the notifications for child abuse are increasing, as are substantiated findings

- however, those findings include in descending order emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse

- the majority of notifications do not result in a substantiated finding

- about 10 children (or 1 %) in 1,000 have a finding of some sort of abuse or neglect against them

- the rate of abuse for Maori children is around three times higher yet even their child deaths due to maltreatment are decreasing

- the high number of Maori children dying at the hands of their young mothers was documented in the 50s and 60s

Can we have some perspective here. Most mothers already willingly let Plunket into their homes. Forcing those who don't to accept state interference is enough to make them go underground. I am not kidding. Many are already transient and lawless.

And I won't even go into the problem of where these children will be put after removal. That can be literally out of the the frying pan and into the fire.

By Pakeha standards many Maori children would be categorised as neglected. This lack of supervision is however the norm in some whanau and even wider communities. It isn't necessarily life threatening. Good god. Some kids could do with a bit more time away from paranoid, over fussy mothers.

I'm not talking about kids in P houses. I'm talking, for instance, about children where mothers are working and sometimes the care falls to older siblings. I go back to my own childhood when my mother worked full-time and with four children; we looked out for each other. Yes, times are different but a lot of the hysteria now afoot is manufactured. It's quite sickening and DPF is a prime example of how reasonable and intelligent people can be (grudgingly) suckered into accepting the machinery of state to all-knowingly handle 'epidemics'. (Sorry David.)

Let's focus on where the known problems are.


Cactus Kate said...

It makes far more sense to visit the homes of beneficiaries to make sure they aren't having sex.

Manolo said...

Kiro and her coterie deserve to be sacked.

The absurd suggestion that every home would require visits from the state is lunacy at its worst. She's lost the plot and should be fired (which will never happen in this politically correct times).

Anonymous said...

I totally agree Linsday, but I'm not sure you want to use the word literally where you did. Sorry to nitpick.

Anonymous said...

And are the child abuse statistics accurate? The police have new rules regarding domestic incidences and now have to report every case no matter how minor to CYS. Resulting in even higher statistics, which will no doubt vindicate the government's interference to many.


Lindsay said...

Gloria, I base the ones I use on the information I get directly from MSD/CYF regarding substantiations. Any other national child abuse statistics (excluding deaths) are estimates. They may have sound basis eg extrapolation from hospital admissions, but they are still estimates.

And even substantiations are the product of CYF social worker's judgement. They are variable individuals.

Anonymous said...

10% is a high number of subtantiations.

The government can't just check the likely candidates for child abuse ie. low income, DPB, drug addicts etc., it would be discrimination.

So they have opted for Cindy Kiro's plan to check all the children from here to kingdom come and why are we supposed to accept the state's prying because we are told; 'child abuse is everyone's problem'.

What right does the government have to intrude into the privacy of families who are not guilty of child abuse?


Anonymous said...

opps, that should be 1%