Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Violence risk 4 times greater for female beneficiaries

Media Release


Tuesday, 25 August, 2009

Women who are beneficiaries have a four-fold risk of experiencing partner violence according to the New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey 2006, published today as part of the Families Commission report, Family Violence Statistics.

In answering the question, who was most at risk of partner violence, the survey found risks were considerably higher for people in sole-parent households; Maori women had risks 3 times the average for women overall; women who were beneficiaries had risks over 4 times the average; women living in the most deprived areas were at higher risk; young people aged 15-24 were at higher risk, as well as those living as flatmates or in rented accommodation.

Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell noted that the profile typically fits the thousands of young, Maori, single parents living on the domestic purposes benefit, in deprived neighbourhoods, in state or other rental properties." This new information is hugely important because it confirms that far from relieving women of partner violence, one of the original purposes behind the DPB, receiving a benefit actually heightens the risk of it."

"Also significant is that those living in sole parent households have an incidence rate of experiencing partner violence more than 5 times greater than those living as a couple with children. This raises a question about how legitimate the survey participants 'sole parent' status is. Are they describing themselves as sole parents primarily for the purposes of claiming a benefit?"

Mitchell also commented about the lack of attention drawn to this aspect of interpersonal violence. " For instance the report explores the role of drugs and alcohol but not welfare. An admission that welfare enables a lifestyle that too often features partner violence is long overdue."


Cactus Kate said...

"This raises a question about how legitimate the survey participants 'sole parent' status is. Are they describing themselves as sole parents primarily for the purposes of claiming a benefit?""

The crux of the sad issue really.

If they actually are "sole" then neither they or their children should be put in a position where a "partner" beats them up.

mojo said...

Not surprising Lindsay, 'they be the ones with the most money.'

Chuck Bird said...

All these studies also ignore marital status.

Lindsay said...

Good lord Chuck, Marriage more often equals commitment, stability, security. It lessens risks. You don't expect family reconstructionists to acknowledge that do you?

brian_smaller said...

Cactus - practically every woman I have ever rented a house to who is on the DPB had a 'partner' who lived with them. If my experience is anything to go by then half the people getting the DPB are ripping it off.

Given that I have dobbed in heaps of them over the years and nothign has been done in any of the cases I brought to the attention of WINZ, then all I conclude is that there is tacit approval of the situation by successive governments who put it all in the too hard basket.

Lindsay said...

My own small sample of 'clients' mirrors your experience Brian.

As I have explained before, the legal test for 'in the nature of a marriage' is now so difficult to apply that I believe Work and Income back off trying. Or at least trying as hard.

Anonymous said...

Lindsay, you are confusing correlation and causation when you say "receiving a benefit actually heightens the risk of it [partner violence]". Yes, the survey does show that receiving a benefit is associated with partner violence, but there could be many explanations for this.

"Sole parent" status in the survey referred to the respondent's current household composition at the time they were interviewed, but partner violence occurring up to a year and a half beforehand was recorded, so they are not as contradictory as you seem to think. Also, telling an interviewer that you are a sole parent doesn't get you a benefit, so there was no direct incentive for respondents to lie, although they were told that the survey was being conducted for the Ministry of Justice.

Lindsay said...

Anon, Correlation and causation can be completely disassociated. Or they can overlap. A risk factor for experiencing violence is being on a benefit. A woman may be assisted by a benefit to leave a violent relationship. On the other hand, the receipt of a benefit can be the major reason a violent partner continues to hang around. I have seen it first hand. You are very naive if you think this is not the case.

If you go back to the 2001 survey, respondents were asked about violence from current partners and an incidence rate of 3% was found for women. In the later survey, which specified both current and former partners (of the past year) they found an incidence rate of 8 percent. So clearly some of the partner violence is current. (One of the reasons I am interested in partner violence is that it is often accompanied by violence towards children.)

'Sole parents' receiving a benefit habitually describe themselves as such to avoid trouble with Work and Income. They won't be telling another arm of government something different (especially one associated with the law) lest they risk losing their benefit or being done for fraud.

Anonymous said...

I'm not arguing that there is no causal link here. But I don't think your claim that the survey confirms that receiving the DPB increases the risk of partner violence holds water. "Suggests", yes; "confirms", no.

Apparently there is a another report coming out that will deal with the overlapping risk factors.

I agree with the two other paragraphs in your response.

Anonymous said...

As i have stated before, I know of one young teenage mother of 3 children under 5, all of whom have different fathers. It is not uncommon.

Working the system is an art form for these people.