Family First NZ says that irrespective of the result of the Referendum tomorrow night (Friday), there will be no celebrations from their perspective until the child abuse rates start to drop.
“The result of the Referendum is simply NZ’ers having their say on a contentious issue which they felt the politicians had previously ignored them on,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “That’s an important part of the process and should not be ignored. All credit should be given to the thousands of people who helped collect signatures to force the Referendum allowing the public to actually have a say in the first place.”
“But it simply starts the process of achieving what we all want – a dramatic decrease in our unacceptable levels of child abuse and child deaths. The next step will be for the government to adopt an amendment to the law so that non-abusive parents are not treated as criminals under the law for correcting their children with a light smack. Good parents should be left to raise great kids, and the law should support them in this.”
“But the real work will begin when we start to tackle the real causes of child abuse as identified by UNICEF, CYF and the recent Children’s Commissioner report – family breakdown, drugs, alcohol abuse, mental illness, violence in our media, poverty and stress, and weak family ties.”
“We’ll start to celebrate when we see the rate of child abuse deaths and CYF notifications start to decrease, and we stop allowing children to be raised in homes with an unacceptable level of violence, drug abuse, family dysfunction and emotional harm,” says Mr McCoskrie.