UK Child Abuse Rate Drops – Without Banning Smacking

Family First NZ says that the drop in the child abuse death rate in the UK is an example for NZ to follow, and a wake-up call to target our resources towards at-risk families.

“Child deaths from abuse have fallen dramatically in England and Wales over the past 30 years, from an average of three a week in 1974 to one a week in 2008,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“A UNICEF report in 2004 found that New Zealand was one of only four where child death rates from maltreatment had increased since the 1970s.”

“Most significantly, UK politicians haven’t targeted law abiding parents with foolish anti-smacking laws. Researchers say that the real solution has been that social workers have identified at-risk families, the Child Protection Register targets these families of children believed to be at risk of significant harm with ongoing support and monitoring, there has been a growing public awareness of the problem, and there has been recognition of the need to support vulnerable families such as teenage mothers.”

“At a time when our country is grappling with the recent examples of horrendous child abuse including the death of little 6 month old Serenity Jay Scott-Dinnington from Ngaruawahia, the UK improvement is another reason for a non-political Commission of Inquiry into child abuse, family breakdown and family violence to identify effective and achievable solutions to child abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie.

According to recent independent polling, Family First’s call for this Inquiry is supported by 2/3’rds of NZ’ers.

“NZ’ers are desperate to get real solutions on this issue – as was evidenced by the community gathering in Ngaruawahia yesterday.”

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