Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MPs square off over welfare and child abuse

Over at Red Alert MP Carmel Sepuloni has taken enormous offence at National MP Todd McClay linking welfare to child abuse. It is a fine example of why it is impossible to have an objective conversation about this issue.

McClay's comments must have occurred during the debate on the Social Assistance (Future Focus) Bill,

Todd went down the wrong path when he disrespectfully brought Nia Glassie in to the debate. He went in to a rant abour how she was surrounded by people on benefits and therefore (in his mind) this led to her murder.

This was not only bad taste but it was offensive. Not only is the Govt trying to stigmatise beneficiaries as lazy; dole bludgers, ripping off the system BUT NOW they are adding – child abusers and even child murderers – to the stigma.

I have directed her to NZ research that shows children who are the subject of a care and protection notification are 4 times more likely to have a parent or caregiver on a benefit, adding;

You have to understand that ‘are more likely to’ can co-exist with ‘most don’t’. For argument’s sake;

8 out of 100 beneficiaries abuse their children.
2 out of 100 non-beneficiaries abuse their children.

Therefore beneficiaries are 4 times more likely to abuse their children BUT most don’t.

However, inasmuch as child murder usually occurs at the extreme end of abuse, it is more likely to happen when the parent or other caregiver is a beneficiary.

So stop taking offence and start asking whether there is a link between welfare and child abuse.

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