Reality Check Needed on Shameful Child Abuse

Media Release 10 Dec 2011
Family First is rejecting claims by the Children’s Commissioner and others that rising child abuse statistics are ‘good news’ and ‘delightful’, and is repeating its call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into child abuse as a result of continuing ‘tragic’ figures.

“It is time we stopped ‘marketing’ child abuse statistics and trying to give them a positive spin, under the illusion that we are succeeding. We need a reality check,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The rates of child abuse have been rocketing up for the last decade – even before the flawed anti-smacking law was passed and the Family Violence awareness campaign began. Between 2003 and 2007 alone, notifications more than doubled from 31,000 to 72,000. The latest statistics give no confidence that children are any safer.”

“To label our atrocious statistics as ‘good news’ and ‘delightful’ is an insult to the victims. Government groups cannot attribute the increase to greater awareness and better practice. The rates have been increasing markedly well before the public awareness campaigns, and the increase in admissions to Starship Hospital alone are proof that the problem is deterioriating.”

“Alcohol and drug abuse are rampant in dysfunctional homes, family breakdown is a festering sore, and there is increasing violence in our culture. These are all signs that things will get worse before they get better.”

“We have had Commission of Inquiries this year into the Pike river tragedy, the collapse of buildings and consequent loss of life in the Christchurch earthquake – yet no inquiry into one of the greatest social problems facing the country.”

“There seems to be no political party who is willing to front up to this issue on the scale required. Since the passing of the anti-smacking law, there have been at least 31 child abuse deaths. The rate continues unabated.”

“The ongoing rates of child abuse are a wake-up call that children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse. An independent Inquiry free of political correctness and point-scoring is essential. We need long-term solutions to a problem that has existed for far too long,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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