Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why do people get wound up about child abuse and neglect?

I am tossing up whether to make a submission on the government's Green Paper on Child Abuse and Neglect. 

I spent an hour or so looking over their "Children's Action Plan"  and my shoulders slumped, progressively.

On the front page of the website it says, "Every year an average of 10 children die at the hands of the people closest to them, the people they love and trust."

My first reaction was to the words "love and trust". Do we really believe children love and trust the people who abuse or neglect them to the point of death? Who wrote that bit of fluff?

Then I thought about the number. Ten. A lot more children die from drowning, transport accidents, cancer, etc than ten, yet child abuse and neglect is the issue that really gets people going. The monologue in my head says, that's because it is only the tip of the iceberg. We all know that thousands are living pretty shitty lives and will go on to become pretty shitty parents.

Or is it guilt? Because people buy the poverty-causes-abuse argument so feel somehow shame-faced that they have, others have-not, so they are, by implication, responsible? In many cases I suspect so.

But then there is the other group not buying into the proposition and feeling angry that they are getting the blame for "New Zealand's shameful statistics".  They are equally wound up.

Why do I get wound up? If I don't know how can I make a submission? People would think I should know by now. But the reasons have changed or taken different priority over the years.

Back in 2001 I would get highly emotional about what a child had suffered. Probably because I was a mum with a young child. That's the mindset mums of babies are in.

But now I am more clinical. I guess the overriding feeling is anger. And that isn't even directed at the useless perpetrators. What's would be the point of that? Punishment and string 'em up responses have never been my cup of tea. Unless fury and horror can be harnessed and provoked amongst the peers of the parents it only serves to create more them and us, alienation, resentment and greater risk for the children.

No. My anger is directed at the establishment. The academics, the professionals across the justice and social work arena, government agencies and politicians. Because of their wilful ignorance of elephants in rooms.

Self-interest in a civil society is good. It leads to the willing exchange of goods, services and IDEAS. But in a society funded by government it is bad. And those charged with the well-being of children are in a government funded society. Paid to talk, paid to analyse, paid to practice, paid to plan, paid to liaise, paid to make policy, paid to protect their own patch, paid to perform. They think they want to change the world but the very core of their necessary self-interest is dictated by responsibility to the state. This prevents change from happening. Because they are wedded to the idea that the state is the ultimate provider and no-one must want. They are horrified at the thought of just leaving people to find their own solutions. They can't accept that if the state fails to step into the breach someone else might. Or, even more radical, the breach might not even open up.

So I am on a different planet to those who say they want to hear me.

Stop asking me what I want the state to do. Bugger off and do nothing.  Even 'less' would be better. Perhaps I should submit a single sentence. In the case of child welfare and state intervention, less is more.


Manolo said...

Lindsay, you nailed in your closing statement. Less government intervention is better.

Anonymous said...

do you even remotely care about anything that does not directly affect you or your family? Fair enough...but don't tell everybody that this is the way that society should work.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I care too much. I wish I didn't.

Kiwiwit said...

I can see the recommendations of the green paper even before the submissions process has closed. It will recommend more pervasive state surveillance of all families, treating caring and law-abiding parents as criminals and ignoring the demographic factors that are all too obvious in the incidence of child abuse.

Mark Hubbard said...

10.49am: If every parent just thought about, and cared about, what happened in their family, including 'before' they had their family, what do you think NZ's child abuse statistics would look like then?

You've got to start thinking, rather than just emoting.

And I can just tell from your tone you'd be very quick to tell me how society should work, and how my freedoms should be sacrificed to it. What do ya reckon?

Many of us understand that regards this issue, people like you 'are' the problem.

Don McKenzie said...

Me thinks people like Mark Hubbard are 'the problem'.

Mark Hubbard said...

Explain exactly why I'm the problem, Don? In relation to this issue.

All I said was that if people thought about, and cared about, their children, including thinking through their resources, circumstances, et al, before they brought children into the world, and thus had those children due to natural love and affection (for their children and the partner they are having children with), we would not have a child abuse problem. This seems self-evident to me.

How is that wrong? How does that make me 'the problem'? I'll be fascinated in your response.

Although I will point out my observation that another part of 'the problem' is that Nanny Statists would rather resort to the ad homeniem (emoting again), in their debates, rather than thinking through reasoned responses.

So, keep to the topic, what's your response?

Don McKenzie said...

Mark 12.41
No one would dispute your para on sensible approach to parenting and the preparation beforehand.
As you say ,self evident.
However you seem to have a crack at Lindsay for caring and perhaps being a little emotive about the subject.Difficult to see what that has to do with child abuse.
You go on to say she would be quick to say how society should work and that you (as a caring parent)would fear loss of freedoms.
I did not understand that suggestion from her post.

I believe the State is the problem and has steadily created the problem starting in the early 70's with the DPB and steadily easing the parameters for its 'beneficience'.

My background is in business situated in South Auckland and for a long span of time.I was able to check on the nett incomes of people on the DPB and others who were not.(there was always a man around who may or may not have been the father of the children).
I believe the DBP as in existance with no strings is the most unfair system that could be devised and foisted on the working couples of this fair land.
Rather than the state imposing more restriction on good parents (as you sem to be concerned with) the State needs to butt out of the DPB and put the responsibility back on the parents ( and the families of parents as in earlier days).
The old maxim should hold, the State (taxpayer) should not do for people what they should do for themselves.
If the taxpayer via the state is happy to continue with the DBP then in my view the state has to insist on strings with responsibilities adhered to with determination.
The creation of Institutes of learning with compulsory attendance would be my choice.
That is an essay on its own and I think I have written enough.

Mark Hubbard said...

Don, I stopped reading your post when you said I was having a 'crack at Lindsay'. My response was to the anonymous poster at 10.49am.

Both my posts are in full support of Lindsay's argument.


Perhaps you better read me again.

... I've just read your second post, and I am 100% in agreement with it. You have basically recited my position. Don, you ought to put a little effort into comprehension ;)

Mark Hubbard said...

... and my accusation of emoting was to the anonymous poster at 10.49am, not to Lindsay :)

If you read my posts in that context, they'll both make a lot more sense.

Don Mac said...

Mark, if I have mis-understood you, I stand corrected.D

Mark Hubbard said...

And I apologise for calling you a Nanny Statist. You're not.

... though the Nanny State English curriculum is showing ;)

... I'm not getting at Don now, at all, it's easy to go off on a tangent, hell, I do: but, do they still teach comprehension in high school English? Funnily enough, that all bears back to the question at hand, of being able to make sensible life decisions, vis a vis, having a family.

Anonymous said...

I do like the string em up and punish em approach, as why should the abusers not be punished?
They get an amazing amount of help from the state, especially financially, and it is the abusers who commit the abuse, not the state.
Personal responsibility needs to come back!! the abusers had a choice and could have chosen to be good parents - millions of oothers have and are.

dad4justice said...

The NZ Govt don't care about kids!
You only have to look at the sinister tactics of CYF and Family Court to see a gravy train is far more important than the best interests of children.

Hey Govt leave those kids alone!

Anonymous said...

true dad4justice, true! They just don't put the kids first!!!

Anonymous said...

Lindsay I'm in too minds about the Green Paper too - why do we even need it? Anyone who bothers to actually do their homework and look into the issue knows who exactly is beating, abusing, molesting & raping our children - primarily (Maori) men & what the causes are behind it.....namely an extremely generous welfare state that encourages a sense of entitlement rather than personal responsibility.

So I find the enquiries etc just result in the vigilantes rearing their ugly heads or the PC brigade saying we need to do more for them

So I get angry too - angry at the perpetrators (Mum of young child), angry at the useless silent majority who say nothing & hide behind their facade of white picket fences & angry at the (ALL) government for being so useless, for refusing to have the courage & integrity to make the decisiions that would FORCE people to start to make different choices.

But then if they did say make massive cuts to welfare, what do you do with the ones who are already used to the system? Who are already screwed up? Who are from generations of useless people used to taking the taxpayer for a ride & seeing a closed fist as a smack.

Part of me is inclined to think a Nazi kind of response (not execution!) would be best as then it would give us a chance to have a clean slate...e.g. life imprisonment of all those gen x & y or older that come from generations of dysfunction & have had kids & sterilization of their kids.

But then what do you do with the likes of entertainers who shall remain nameless who abuse their kids or the graham capills of the world - who inflict abuse that often takes years (if ever) to get reported? How do you flush these guys out - the white middle class man who very much give the Maori man a running for the number one spot on child molestation?

I guess doing something is better than nothing, but the something has to mean there will be less state & more personal responsibility.

It is beyond me how a woman can carry a child for 10 months & then be so quick to pass that responsibility onto others. I just don't get it - despite relating to their lives in more ways than one.

Anonymous said...

The simple fact of the the matter is there's no money left for the DPB, the Dole, CYFS, WINZ, the Super, the Sickness, the Accomo supplement r any of the rest

Who cares about all of these "nice to haves" when there just isn't any money - even though, as Lindsay so often points out - none of it does any good

Every benefit should be terminated immediately.

It really is that simple. And - counting "health" and "education" as benefits, as of course one should - then NZ would be in the black!.

Any other choice is simply postponing a harsh day of reckoning now for an ever more brutal collapse later.

Anonymous said...

do you even remotely care about anything that does not directly affect you or your family?

Of course we care about productive, high-value, high-worth citizens - the 1% that built NZ!

Fair enough...but don't tell everybody that this is the way that society should work.

We are sick to death of putting food on the table, roves over heads, "schools" for the kids, and GPs and Hospitals, to bludgers. Even more importantly: there isn't any money left -- Key is still borrowing every damn cent flushed down the crapper on welfare, health & education.

It really is this simple:

1) There's no such thing as society.


Go away and come back again when you can add - something your state school obviously failed to teach you.

Explain exactly why I'm the problem, Don?

You're the problem because (unlike the leftists that Lindsay foolishly tolerates here) you pay nett taxes and your nett taxes are being used to prop up the mess of "Welfare". That's precisely why you're the problem.

The creation of Institutes of learning with compulsory attendance would be my choice.

Get a grip - you really think borstals will be cheaper than NZ's pathetic state-leftist-indoctrination centers? More intervention => more expense - which NZ can't afford.

But: stopping welfare, stopping every benefit, yes the Dole, yes the DBP, yes the Super, the lot! -- and all these problems just go away.

But then if they did say make massive cuts to welfare, what do you do with the ones who are already used to the system?

Who gives a shit? They wouldn't be our problem any more.

life imprisonment of all those gen x & y or older

And who the fuck is going to pay for that???

There's only one, proven solution, that removes all moral hazard, provides the right incentives and rewards, and is actually affordable. Even more so - there is no alternative.

All through the "West", the welfare states are being terminated. Pension ages are being raised higher and higher, and now in the US pensions are simply being cancelled - because otherwise companies or cities and states simply cannot pay the bills! So goes every other kind of welfare.

Economic in NZ are no different to anywhere else. Ideall sooner, most likely later and with great violence, NZ's welfare system will be completely dismantled. Already anyone expecting a pension, state super, ACC, etc, anyone who doesn't love their kids enough to send them to private schools, with private healthcare and insurance and enough funds to tide them over any eventuality is nothing more than willfully blind and a committed socialist!

At least Key has started privatizing the schools, but he's not moving anywhere fast or hard enough!

Welfare in NZ will end in our lifetimes. We can either end it now, and take some advantage from ending it, or keep kidding ourselves and hope to escape as the country collapses. Our choice.