Thursday, October 11, 2012

83 percent of child abuse and neglect cases are from families on benefit

Thanks to Brendan for alerting me to the fact that 83 percent of child abuse and neglect cases are from families on welfare. That's according to Professor Rhema Vaithianathan interviewed for Radio NZ lunchtime news.

I returned to the study cited this morning to see how that percentage compared to 1994-5. Information held in the CYF computer was compared to that held in the Social Welfare system. A 'match' indicated the subject of the care and protection order had a caregiver with a Social Welfare Number (SWN).

Table 1 Matched Cases Between SWIFT and SWis Systems


Care and Protection
Youth Justice
Match/No Match
Number
Per cent
Number
Per cent
Match, with SWN
236
79
256
85
Match, but no SWN
10
3
7
2
No Match
54
18
37
12
TOTAL
300
100
300
99*


So 82 percent of the Care and protection cases involved a caregiver (usually mother) who had a SWN.

However, "In a substantial minority of these matches, 107 cases (36%) in the care and protection sample and 80 cases (27%) in the youth justice sample, no current income-tested benefit was being paid nor was there a benefit paid over the 1994-95 period."

This would drop the percentage significantly.

So I'm still keen to know what the source is for the Professor's claim. Some questions I think.

UPDATE. I have been in touch with the Professor who has very quickly responded and provided a link to their study. Here is the exact wording:   "Of all children having a finding of maltreatment by age 5, 83% are seen on a benefit before age 2, translating into a
very high “capture” rate."

3 comments:

brian_smaller said...

To be fair, having a SWN does not mean you are currently on a benefit. I have a SWN and have not had any involvement with the benefit system since 1990.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Yes, and I pointed that out below the table. I probably had one in the 90s too after a fortnight on the dole.

tracey said...

How dare you go on the dole Lindsay.