Too high but falling

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has welcomed latest child abuse statistics showing that the number of children abused in the year ended June 2014 fell by 2,306 or 12 percent on the previous year.

“Let there be no doubt that our child abuse figures remain appallingly high but it is pleasing to see the numbers going down for the first time in 10 years,” says Mrs Tolley.

During the year to June 2014, 16,289 children had 19,623 findings of abuse substantiated compared to 18,595 children with 22,984 findings of abuse in the previous year. 

Of the 146,657 notifications made to Child, Youth and Family in 2014, 54,065 reports required further action involving 43,590 children.  This compared to 148,659 notifications in 2013 where 61,877 reports required further action in relation to 48,527 children.  A drop of 4,937 children.

In 2014, there were 9,499 children who were emotionally abused, 3,178 children who were physically abused and 1,294 children who were sexually abused.  In 2013 the corresponding figures were 11,386 children emotionally abused, 3,181 physically abused and 1,423 sexually abused.

“Good progress is being achieved in implementing the Children’s Action Plan.   With 30 specific measures designed to prevent abuse and neglect, it will make a real difference in reducing child abuse in this country.

“New Zealanders are becoming increasingly intolerant of abuse and neglect in their communities, and the more people willing to report their concerns, the better chance we’ll have to keep our children safe and protected.” says Mrs Tolley.

The number of people on benefits is also declining.

Could there be a link between that and the decline in child abuse?
While New Zealand's child abuse statistics are still far too high, we're making significant progress in preventing abuse and neglect.<br /><br />


7 Responses to Too high but falling

  1. farmerbraun says:

    The insidious and pervasive abuse of children is constantly increasing , notwithstanding that fewer children are being beaten to death .
    The abuse I refer to is the fact of parents no longer giving their children the “time of day”.
    The developmental psychologists scream it till they are hoarse :-

    “Speak to your children ; interact with them”

    Give them language so they can have ideas.
    Don’t put them in front of a screen , and withdraw. That is abuse of the worst sort.

    “Most significant of all is that the very complexity of the State model has led to the rise of neoliberal socio-economic policies, within which the need to address expensive complexity is removed but the fundamentals of State structure remain. This is the worst of all worlds: one where reduced welfare and wages lead to increased time starvation, community involvement falls, the time available for parenting declines, and government becomes increasingly inaccessible. All these combine to nurture a sense of bitter, alienated resentment among the populace. Communitarianism, ironically, is replaced by systemic tribalism. Debate deteriorates into slanging matches. Society lacks a coherent set of shared values.”

  2. Andrei says:

    This is just the authorities massaging figures to convince the gullible that they are doing a good job.

    The term “Child Abuse” has been redefined over the years anyway and what would be considered gross child abuse today was in my childhood part of the everyday experience of the vast majority of my contemporaries while in modern times parents spend far far less time interacting with their kids than was the case in my formative years (a neglect which might be a form of abuse).

    There is a sad case in the news…….

    But perhaps we don’t want to look under that rock

  3. Gravedodger says:

    With such a subjective assessment based on the assessors notion of what constitutes abuse and then without according a measurable degree of such abuse to each case, any such claim is worth no more than counting the number of branded bits of packaging within say 1000 meters of a KFC for an assessment of littering.

    Cripes,”In 2014, there were 9,499 children who were emotionally abused”. That is really accurate ‘Yeah right’ just didn’t quite make 9500, but did that include the poor little bugger in Rotorua mall bawling it’s eyes out because it couldn’t have an ice-cream?, jeepers I wanted one also, just didn’t bawl.

    Was I abused because my Dad spent inordinate time working, in the eyes of many the answer would be yes.
    But as far as I know he never left me in the ute because he suffered “The forgotten baby syndrome”.
    Did my granddad abuse me for doing wheelies with the Morrison motor mower, nope, he was dead right.
    Did my Mum abuse me when I was forced to spend time with the ladies of The Presbyterian Guild one afternoon a month, maybe yes, none of my mates were so afflicted.
    Did we abuse our one yearold first born who became a little reddened at the Amuri A&P show c 1965 because she repeatedly removed her sunhat, for sure we did and the second prize in the “Baby Show was definitely further abuse.

    So the first question is what is abuse, the two commenters above me raise very relevant questions and there are gazillions more, but Mrs Tolley’s claims read well.

    A baby dropped on its head say 10.
    A light smack on the hand for disobedience say 5.
    Allowing a child to annoy other customers in a lunch bar could be plus 2.
    Fruitlessly and without gaining even a measurable response, continually asking a child to cease pulling it’s sibling’s hair would be 1 for the pullor and another 2 for the pullee.

    I wont go on, those making such porridge up are employed, earning and god alone knows who or even if they are abusing anyone.
    Maybe had the presser released stopped after indicating that the number of cases of abuse had declined then some accuracy would have been portrayed but as quoted above it is pure spin.

    “New Zealanders are becoming increasingly intolerant of abuse and neglect in their communities, and the more people willing to report their concerns, the better chance we’ll have to keep our children safe and protected.” says Mrs Tolley”

    Had some interfering busy-body given me a serve because they disagreed with my attempt to instill acceptable behavior in my child in public, now that would have been abuse in my eyes, of my rights as a parent.
    Oh and before a flame war erupts I doubt if any of my peers ever disagreed with my actions as a parent but many complimented on the children’s behavior and they both didn’t turn out half bad either.

  4. TraceyS says:

    It mildly annoys me when people who have raised their children in another era talk about screen time as parental withdrawal or neglect. It is not necessarily so.

    I work at home most of the time, including the school holidays. I could take my kids to a school holiday program and leave them there or keep them at home with me and accept that they will use their devices a fair bit while I’m working. They have a whole range of other activities they could also choose, many of which I am not going to be actively engaged in, because they can do them independently. And it is very important for children to do things independently as they grow up.

    I acknowledge that reliance on “screens” can go too far and I never liked them at all when my children were younger. But as they grow up you have to accept the world that they are growing up in. Did anyone else listen to that guy on Breakfast yesterday morning talking about the future and the role that screens will play? If your children are already grown then you can afford a little more to sit back and be judgemental. Those of us whose children are yet to reach adulthood are still trying to make sure they grow up well adjusted to whatever their environment might be. Might as well accept the screens and help them to explore the numerous benefits brought about by the improvements in screen technology, particularly over the last 5 to 10 years.

    My cell phone for example is all I need to find my way around Auckland. When I first ventured here all my cell phone could do was connect with another phone. The screen was so limited that the only “flash” thing it did was display the last few numbers dialed. Now I can use it to find out almost anything. On the train home one of the kids asks “why was the Sky Tower built” and I can help them find the answer. Using a screen.

  5. farmerbraun says:

    Tracey , my point was about the amount of time that infants( 0-3 years ) spend not interacting, not in communication, not being read to. The screen was an example of non-interaction. It is not the issue.
    It is the same effect as is seen in orphanages where people -contact-time is severely restricted. No screens but poverty of interaction.

  6. TraceyS says:

    I think you worry too much farmerbraun. Children are very good at ensuring their needs are met. Unfortunately some must be satisfied with negative attention, which is a problem if no one notices. But our education system is pretty good at noticing. It should be the parents noticing but sometimes this isn’t realistic. I have known some very disadvantaged kids and am forever encouraged by their resilience.

  7. farmerbraun says:

    It happens in the first two years Tracey. The education system is not good at fixing it. The development of language is critical for life outcomes and the development of intelligence , as well as literacy.

    “The goal of this study was to determine whether verbal interactions between mothers and their 6-month-old infants during media exposure (‘media verbal interactions’) might have direct positive impacts, or mitigate any potential adverse impacts of media exposure, on language development at 14 months. For 253 low-income mother-infant dyads participating in a longitudinal study, media exposure and media verbal interactions were assessed using 24-hour recall diaries. Additionally, general level of cognitive stimulation in the home [StimQ] was assessed at 6 months and language development [Preschool Language Scale-4] was assessed at 14 months. Results suggest that media verbal interactions play a role in the language development of infants from low-income, immigrant families. Evidence showed that media verbal interactions moderated adverse impacts of media exposure found on 14-month language development, with adverse associations found only in the absence the these interactions”

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