Family First NZ says that the tragic child abuse death of 16-month old Northland boy Riley Osborne is more evidence of the key causes of child abuse which we are failing to acknowledge and tackle.
“Report after report from both CYF and UNICEF and international research all confirm that children are most at risk where there is the presence of drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, the presence of non-biological adults in the house, low maternal age, poverty and single parenthood,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.
“This latest case shows a number of factors including drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, welfare dependency and low maternal age.”
“We are missing actual child abuse because politicians and the Children’s Commissioner have confused the issue by treating parents who smack as child abusers, and told us that we should spend all our time and resources targeting them.”
“Despite a 30% increase in CYF notifications in the last twelve months (yet a corresponding decrease in the number of cases requiring further action), the ‘roll of horror’ of child abuse deaths continues with cases including 2 year old Jhia Te Tua, 16 month old Sachin Dhani, 22-month-old Tyla-Maree Flynn, 3 year old Nia Glassie, Ten-month-old Jyniah Te Awa, Two-month-old Tahani Mahomed, 3 year old Dylan Rimoni, 7-year-old Duwayne Pailegutu, and now little Riley.”
“The rate of child abuse deaths has continued unabated despite the passing of the anti-smacking law.”
“Until we acknowledge drug abuse, our culture of alcohol abuse and the resulting harm, the role that family structure has on the safety of children, and the desparate need for better support and resources for new and especially young parents, we will never see progress in our battle against child abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“It’s time for the country to administer a ‘truth serum’ to the debate on child abuse rather than our ideologically flawed approach which has failed.”