Poverty doesn’t cause abuse

The first topic of discussion on Afternoon’s Panel on Tuesday was Paula Bennett’s proposals for countering the scourge of child abuse.

One of the panelists, Gary McCormick, asserted that the root cause of the problem was poverty (starting at about 9:01).

Host Jim Mora said there was disagreement about the extent to which poverty is related to child abuse.

McCormick disagreed.

Guest Anthea Simcock from Child Matters then came on (about 12 minutes) and said while poverty was related to the issues it was not the primary cause and child abuse wouldn’t be fixed by fixing poverty alone.

McCormick came back in (13:56) and told her she was wrong and poverty was the cause of the problems.

She countered that by saying it was a co-existing factor but not a causal one.

He came back and eventually said he refused to believe what she was saying.

This is a prime example of someone not letting the facts getting in the way of their convictions and he’s not the only one.

Lindsay Mitchell blogs:

John Minto says that Labour needs “a kick up the backside” for not pushing the message that poverty is the “key factor” behind child abuse.

He says there are NEVER any excuses for child abuse but there are REASONS behind it.

Unfortunately reasons becomes excuses very easily.

Can I take you back to just a couple of things that people like John Minto ignore.

Child abuse rates are not high amongst all groups with high poverty rates. In fact they are lower amongst poor Asians.

Household incomes of Maori and Pacific families are growing faster than the median, yet the rate of Maori child abuse is not declining. . .

Poverty is a problem but a lot of very poor people love and care for their children and some who aren’t poor abuse them.

The problems of poverty and child abuse both need to be addressed but it is wrong to assert that solving the former will solve the latter.

6 Responses to Poverty doesn’t cause abuse

  1. Andrei says:

    Poverty to materialists means lack of THINGS

    Poverty to the spiritual means something different.

    Lack of THINGS doesn’t cause child abuse but spiritual poverty does.

    We live in spiritually impoverished times – this epidemic is a symptom of it.

    Will never be fixed by politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers, all of whom have helped create the cultural wasteland in which social dysfunction flourishes


  2. Gravedodger says:

    @Andrei plus one.
    The elephant in the room is welfare that once embraced without any guilt, feelings of embarassment or understanding will only cause greater destruction of spiritual values as they are “sold” to access the soul damaging prop, welfare has become.

    I recall the feeling of absolute envy as a six year old displaced child arrived at our little country school to live with his Grands in the village.

    He owned a beautiful Tonka Toy US Jeep that was totally unreachable in my circumstances. Looking back Rex was probably being removed from a “situation” of his home life that needed relief with the toy as just a part of the cure. Didn’t diminish the envy though and I was not alone in that historical “deprivation”.
    Sheesh maybe a bit of counselling or a lie down at least, required.


  3. Marc says:

    In NZ, child abuse and poverty are usually symptoms of incompetant parenting – it is wrong to say one will cause the other as normally living in hard times never results in abuse. Many families have experience of this lack of finance for some time in their life.

    We had an example descrived as “poverty” in The Press last week of a parent in Christchurch who had an income of $754 per week, and rent of $200, yet said she could not afford to provide vegetables for her family of 4 children more than once a week. Thats $39,000 pa, around the average wage I believe.

    On the face of it, that’s not poverty, its poor skills in managing the budget and poor lifestyle choices.


  4. TraceyS says:

    James Parker was sentenced today to preventative detention for abusing children. Was he poor?

    His victims were vulnerable, maybe in poverty even. Does that mean poverty was the key factor? No. James Parker was the key factor.

    We do not need to fix poverty in order to keep abusers away from children.


  5. Paranormal says:

    @Andrei and @Gravedodger – Absolutely!

    BTW does anyone recall the study carried out in the early 2000’s by CYFS (or whatever they were called) that showed outcomes for children were far worse in beneficiary households than for the ‘working poor’ households working. The study was quickly buried by Clarkula and her cohorts as it did not suit their, or that bottom feeder Gary McCormick’s, agenda.


  6. homepaddock says:

    The 2008 living standards survey found that: * the hardship rate for sole parent families is around 4 times that for those in two parent families (39% and 11% respectively)
    * beneficiary families with dependent children have a hardship rate of around 5 times that for working families with children (51% and 11% respectively)
    * sole parent families in work have a hardship rate (20%) well below that for sole parent beneficiary families (54%): (link to a PDF on this post: https://homepaddock.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/from-headlines-to-help/)

    And: Peter Hughes, CEO of the Ministry of Social Development said:”We know that for the same level of income, kids do better where that income’s derived from paid work.” http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5726217/Benefit-system-in-good-shape


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