Monday, December 21, 2015

Govt predicts higher child assault numbers in 2016

It's a mystery to me how the projections are made but it's pretty grim.

 "...we are working to reduce the number of assaults on children. By
2017, we aim to halt the 10-year rise in the number of children experiencing physical
abuse, and reduce the current numbers (2011) by five percent. This is a complicated
area of work and the answers are not simple. Long-term success and sustainability will
be challenging."

To be fair at least the govt has been prepared to try new approaches in this area. They want to give more autonomy to the people who live and work in the communities with these children and enable each agent to communicate with the other:

"Children’s Teams are one of the tangible ways in which we are integrating our
support for children at risk. They bring together professionals from iwi/Mäori,
health, education, welfare and social service agencies to work with children and
their families.....The Children’s Action Plan Directorate is currently developing the Vulnerable Kids
Information System (ViKI). ViKI will be an essential tool to enable Children’s Teams to
identify, respond to, and reduce child vulnerability. ViKI will be implemented in phases,
with the first phase supporting the Hamilton Children’s Team....There are currently four Children’s Teams which were established in 2013 and 2014.
These are in Rotorua, Whangarei, Horowhenua/Ōtaki and Marlborough. The remaining
sites yet to go live are in Hamilton, Tairawhiti (Gisborne), Eastern Bay of Plenty,
Christchurch, Whanganui and Clendon/Manurewa/Papakura."

Some of those teams might be up and running since the publication of the report.

But whether the new ways of working can be supported is a further question:

"It is not a simple task to manage transformational business change while also managing
the rise in demand for services in the face of rising prices. To add to the complication of
cost pressures, two large programmes of work (Children’s Action Plan (CAP) and Child,
Youth and Family service delivery changes) were funded on a one-off basis." 
Step back for a moment though.

It has to be asked why New Zealand has come to this.

Pumping money into poor communities through benefits that are supposed to improve the lives of children, only to have to pump in more and more for (sometimes futile) efforts to keep those children safe. 

 The number of children who experienced substantiated physical abuse in the 12 months to 30 June 2015.


Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Lindsay

The idea that Government’s can develop a public policy initiative that will prevent the abuse of children in the home is both sad and farcical.

Your suggestion we ‘step back for a moment and ask why NZ has come to this’ is an entirely rational response.

One obvious answer might be that we no longer value children as we once did, and so abusing them has become ‘easier’ than it once was. To this you can again ask ‘why?’

There are a variety of reasons but perhaps one might be that we no longer value human life as we once did. If human life is not a divine gift to be treasured from conception to natural death, then it is something else, something less, something more disposable, more utilitarian perhaps?

It might be because the introduction of the Socialist State means that children are no longer necessary to support us in our old age; therefore they are seen by many parents as an economic burden now rather than a blessing in the future? They are something that stands in the way of enjoying ‘my best life now’?

Or perhaps it’s a combination of these factors, and a few others I haven’t mentioned.

In the end, how we treat our children comes down to what we actually believe about them (not what we say we believe).

Anonymous said...

It has to be asked why New Zealand has come to this.

not really - we know why. Cause and Effect.

Pumping money into poor communities through benefits that are supposed to improve the lives of children, only to have to pump in more and more for (sometimes futile) efforts to keep those children safe.

stop the benefits, stop pumping the money and they won't be any kids nor any "poverty" and much less abuse.

JC said...

Perhaps the first thing to do is yawn and move on till we identify we have a problem somewhat above zero.

The first thing to note is there are about a million children and currently the number abused has risen by 1000 in ten years or 0.1% In total the problem is 0.3% at present.

If you are an activist you can make much of the fact the increase in ten years is 50% but really its 50% of buggerall.. a blip on the total number of children and probably easily explained by the GFC.

I'd be annoyed if the Govt was putting in major resources to the problem but I suspect it'll be part of the major B English push to identify pretty much from birth who the at risk (of a range of social problems) children are. That set of programs may in fact have been used to project forward the number of abused kids. That the Govt is saying rather confidently it hopes to stop the rise in 2017 suggests the spadework already done is showing results and a way of dealing with the problem.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

Not often I disagree with you JC.

3,000+ physically abused children can't be minimized because the number represents only a tiny percentage of the overall population. In addition to the physically abused children come the sexually abused and/or emotionally abused and just plain neglected (which somehow pains me the most though I can't explain why). All totaling 16,000+ in 2014/15.

In 1971 total convictions for ALL ASSAULTS numbered not much higher - 4,400

When you say "I'd be annoyed if the Govt was putting in major resources to the problem"
I know that you would also be annoyed with govt for putting in resources that create the problem eg benefits that make meal tickets of children.

As said, I appreciate that the govt is trying stuff (and especially Bill English' data interrogation to identify) but it all turns too slowly.

(Albeit that may be as fast as wheels can turn in a sluggish democracy.)

Anonymous said...

I always wondered how such awful things get dumped on children but am starting to see.

Wifey has taken in a waif with a child (but not with custody at the moment). The child is perfectly safe and has never been abused but the shambles we are dealing with stems from waif's mother who is malicious to an amazing degree and makes allegations that cannot be supported to just annoy her daughter. CYFS and the courts are presently being suckered in despite a lack of any credible evidence but that is going to change shortly as the lies are now starting to conflict. I'm amazed at what a complete shambles the legal process is with no-one checking the affidavits of the grandmother or drug testing her while doing that to everyone else. She could have been rumbled weeks ago.

Waif is learning that actions have consequences and you will not always escape them - life isn't fair. One night of foolishness with a nice buzz on was enough to require her to rearrange her life.

I can see how depressed or dysfunctional people get pushed to the point of doing really stupid things if this example is as common as it would appear to be.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

CYF safeguard systems, established with the noblest intent, are gamed.

In your instance, do CYF seem capable of discernment?

Anonymous said...

I need to say there is a very loose extended family connection in this mess but its not biological. There is no racial or cultural component.

I'm a cynic and tend to sit on fences so feel I remain emotionally distant but practically helpful - more tears are not what is needed. Mindful of that my view is that no one has bothered to look into the allegations. Waif has supporting positive affidavits from every organisation who has contact with her child and the child's doctor yet her mother's views (contradictory though they are over time) are preferred without any enquiry into their reliability. So, in my view, CYF and the system generally are just dumb and have given the least suitable person custody. That has rapidly seen someone's lifestyle inconvenienced so we are now off again on a new round of who shall have my grandchild?

The whole bureaucratic shambles is like a released log jamb that makes its way downstream wrecking all sorts of stuff along the way. Lawyers clip tickets, judges judge, forms get filled in but nothing actually gets fixed.

Its good to support someone who needs it but its better to solve problems rather than see them added to.