Monday, December 02, 2013

Dealing with propaganda

The Child Poverty Action Group recently re-released this scatter plot (amended at the y axis after I pointed out their ealier calculation error) depicting the percentage of child abuse in each CYF site office against the rate of benefit dependency in each site office area.

Along the x axis they plotted, "% income-tested beneficiaries in the total estimated population". I argued with them that they should have used income-tested beneficiaries with dependent children if attempting to assess any association between child abuse and benefit dependency. Including everyone on an unemployment, sickness and invalid benefit would skew the result in my view.

To make my point I requested the relevant data from MSD.

Here's the result.

Below, in the first graph, I have used the CPAG data (available at their appendices) and recreated their scatter plot (the pattern is naturally identical to the one above).

In the second graph I have used the same CPAG data for child abuse (Y axis) but entered the new income-tested beneficiary with dependent children as a percentage of the 18-64 year-old population data (X axis).

As expected the correlation has strengthened markedly.

CPAG has tried very hard to downplay the association between child abuse and benefit dependency going so far as to state in the same report, "The data suggests there is no correlation between benefit receipt and child maltreatment." (p2)

Make your own mind up.

But also ask yourself why they would do this.

CPAG believes that children are poor because benefit payment rates are too low. They cannot accept there is anything inherently problematic with being on a benefit long-term barring children don't receive enough income from the state. If the public starts to believe that benefit dependency is a significant risk for children then CPAG is in trouble. And so are the electoral chances of the Greens and Labour, both promoting higher benefits.


Brendan said...


It's always a question of what comes first, social dysfunction, substance abuse, child abuse, or benefit dependency. What is a cause and what is a symptom?

I'd be intersted to know the correlation between parental family structures and benefit dependency / child abuse, although I doubt any Government department would be non PC enough to capture this data.

An unpalitiable truth is that not all family structures deliver the same outcomes for children. If we were to discover that the State is at least in part responsible for facilitating an environment of abuse, what impact would that have upon social policy?

Anonymous said...

You were rather too kind to CPAG on the radio on Saturday.


Anonymous said...

. If we were to discover that the State is at least in part responsible for facilitating an environment of abuse, what impact would that have upon social policy?

We already have the data on that, as Lindsay has said - and this is unquestionably the case

Anyone arguing benefits are good for children should be treated the same way we would treat someone who said the world was flat --- or the same way the leftists (really communists) want us to treat anyone who teaches evolution in schools, that abortion is wrong, or that climate change is a hoax.

Anyone who supports redistribution and benefits is doing nothing but showing their ignorance of very basic economics. It really is that simple.

As with the Copernican model of the solar system, this is a fact. This is not something about which it is possible to have any kind of "debate"

Anonymous said...

Excellent work, Lindsay!

That second graph shows that CPAG are *lying*.
There is a strong correlation between receiving a benefit and child abuse.

CPAG must be scowling about the fact that their nonsense can be so easily disproved, and the results spread far and wide via the Internet.