Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Stuff's tortured apology

Yesterday Stuff declared to the world that it had been racist in the past but now, in their "brave new era" they will tell the truth!!

So they kick off today with a confession that THEY made Maori the face of child abuse.

To an extent this is true. The media in general focuses on Maori child abuse deaths more than non-Maori, sometimes because the behaviour of whanau keeps the case alive and dragging out over months and years. Cases where the offender pleads guilty and is processed through the system garner less attention.

Anyway they start by slapping themselves over reported likelihood risks. They looked at stories from 2000 about Lillybing and James Whakaruru:

Both stories claimed Māori children were “five times more likely” to be abused than Pākehā children.

The statistic was not correct. At the time, around 25 per cent of children were Māori, and 75 per cent Pākehā: Three times higher, not five.

The figure lowered even further when comparing Māori to non-Māori as a whole. An analysis by the Ministry for Social Development later showed Māori children were around 2.5 times more likely to be abused than non-Māori. A review of literature predominantly published in the early 2000s showed the rate of maltreatment among Māori was consistently double that of non-Māori. 

A rate two or three times higher than other groups is still significant, and the essence of the claim – Māori are overrepresented in child abuse figures – was accurate.

But the inaccurate “five times more” figure was not corrected, and served as a springboard for fevered coverage in the months afterwards, seemingly used as permission to cover Lillybing’s death in a racialised way.

Well let me tighten this with the most recent, and more relevant, Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths (CAN)  official data from 2009 to 2015:

 Māori children were three times more likely to die from CAN than non-Māori children. Similarly, offenders of Māori ethnicity were six times more likely to be responsible for CAN deaths than those of non-Māori ethnicity. When stratified by age, the rate of CAN deceased was highest among children aged 0–4 years and, for Māori, the rate of the children killed by CAN aged 0–4 years was four times higher than the non-Māori rate

Then in an attempt at revisionist impartiality Stuff goes on to bring up names of non-Maori children who were killed in filicide/parental suicide events and under-reported.

There isn't a lot to be said about open and shut cases of this nature. They are mental crisis events which often come out of the blue. The children are seemingly well-cared for, even over-loved. The media can't hammer CYF failure, or police inaction or follow a court hearing.

The reason the two aforementioned Maori child cases garnered so much attention was the revelations of the ongoing abuse and gross neglect leading up to the deaths. To compare them to cases where the parent took their own life is a mistake. In the former we had adults trying to absolve themselves or cover up for someone, ongoing police investigations and a court case; in the latter, parents who no longer wanted to live and decided to take their children with them.

The inclusion of these types of child deaths (9) in the CAN stats probably lowers the Maori likelihoods cited above but the report does not separate the types of CAN deaths by race. However, clues relating to quintile deprivation suggest the filacide/parental suicide cases are non-Maori - though the unusual and very sad recent case up on the East Coast will change the next lot of stats: 

"... among the offenders whose socioeconomic status was known, deprivation differed for the different types of CAN death events. A deprivation gradient was noticeable for fatal physical abuse/grossly negligent treatment death events – two-thirds (67 percent) of the offenders who killed children by fatal physical abuse/grossly negligent treatment were from the most deprived neighbourhoods (deprivation quintile 5) and no offenders were from the least deprived neighbourhoods(deprivation quintile 1). By contrast, the neonaticide and filicide with parental suicide CAN death events involved offenders from neighbourhoods that spanned the range of deprivation quintiles...The distributions of Māori deceased and offenders were skewed towards the most deprived quintile, whereas for non-Māori the deceased and offenders were more evenly distributed across the range of deprivation quintiles. No Māori offenders responsible for CAN deaths lived in the least deprived neighbourhood. "

In conclusion yes Stuff probably did disproportionately report on Maori child deaths BUT there are reasons for this that go beyond race. They relate to the circumstances surrounding the death.

This cleansing exercise Stuff has embarked upon is so bizarre that I wonder if they are trying to pre-empt any future prosecutions for past behaviour? Sounds preposterous but you couldn't rule it out in today's crazy world. 

More likely they don't want to be victims of the senseless cancel-culture.


Mark Wahlberg said...

`Whew! a marathon effort lindsay.
Reading between the lines I get the distinct impression reporting of this specific abuse of children will slow to a trickle, become a drip and with the help of the new washer, stop altogether.
Are we going down the path of the South African Truth and reconciliation Commission of 1995?
More tortured flagellation of the collective soul with a rewriting of the history books as we stand united, looking toward the bright new day tomorrow. HALLELUJAH!!!!!

Max Ritchie said...

Whether it’s 4 times worse or 2.5 times worse is irrelevant. The fact is that it’s FAR worse. Maori have a problem and accusing social workers of racism is not a solution. And a plan which simply replaces Maori social workers managed by an Irish person with Maori social workers managed by a Maori is not a solution either. The problem does not lie with the management of social workers - it lies with Maori parents and their families. And their boyfriends.

Hilary Taylor said...

Agree entirely. Crime, and that's what child abuse is, is reported. The grislier ones get reported more fully because there's a whole trail of court proceedings, as you say....is how I look at it. No different to the ghoulish reporting of the death and subsequent proceedings of the young Brit in AK a while ago...slavering over it all they were. It's a nasty feature of life here in NZ, with the social underbelly we have. Who'd be Moss?

Mike D said...

Wouldn't it be ironic if, in an attempt to avoid falling victim to "cancel culture" by over-egging the Maori child abuse pudding, $1uff instead falls victim to "cancel-my-subscription and cancel-my-advertising" culture by people sick and tired of having this meaningless, PC, woke, pointless virtue-signaling tripe rammed down their throats?

I for one would find it hilarious!