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Number of Reported Child Abuse cases have dropped

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 pm, January 23rd, 2015 - 27 comments
Categories: child abuse, paula bennett - Tags:

For the first time in ten years, reported cases of child abuse have declined. Minister Tolley and I are in agreement, that the number is still appallingly high. I sincerely hope that the reduction over the last year is due to government policies because then we can expect the downward trend to continue over the next few years.

We ALL need to be accessible to children to help ensure their safety. We need more programmes in schools which teach and explore respect in all relationships so that children recognise they have recourse if they are “disrespected” and are actually in an abuse situation. I have not abused a child but as an adult I accept that responsibility for the safety of children in my community is down to me too.

Many sexual abusers of children are adept at presenting themselves as nice people to the outside world (and, I suggest, some cultivate a good community image as part of their cover). They threaten harm to the child or others they love if they “tell”. That being the case some kinds of abuse have to be attacked from a different angle than identifying perpetrators per se. By teaching respect for others and ourselves we can empower children without turning them against those who they love and genuinely love them and are not abusing them. It is not about SEX education but respect and relationship education. Emotional and physical abuse are different again, although some children experience all three. I know there have been times when I have heard an adult speaking an appalling manner to a child and have bitten my tongue.  That puts me at fault too. IF *I* as an older person if I have not the courage to speak up, how can that child?

We need to act more like a community in all things, reaching out to our neighbours (and their children) in good times and bad. Getting to know each other, support each other, and in some case, report on each other. If we do more of the first two things, we will hopefully have to do less of the reporting.

The impact of abuse on children and the cost to communities is well documented.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.

More than 17,000 Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) members undergoing a comprehensive physical examination chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. To date, more than 50 scientific articles have been published and more than100 conference and workshop presentations have been made. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/

20,000 cases of child abuse in NZ  is too many but is definitely better than 22,000.

IF Treasury were leading the war on child abuse on the basis of costs to the country of every case of abuse, it would be an even higher priority. This brief paper outlines the costs of abuse of children.

297 people died on our roads in 2014. Consider the time, media focus and money spent on reducing that.

 

27 comments on “Number of Reported Child Abuse cases have dropped ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    I wondered at the statistics Tracey. There was some discussion on Morning Report and Children’s commissioner Russell Willis thought it may be in part because incidents are being referred to non governmental agencies rather than to CYF itself and so CYF do not necessarily capture all the incidents in the statistics. This Government have done it with police offence data, it may be that this is also not evidence that things are actually improving.

    The audio of the interview is at http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/20164585/children's-commissioner-on-child-abuse-statistics

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 1.1

      one of the questions that popped up when i heard this was whether this is yet another instance of gnats cooking the books. after all they have done it with the country’s finances, healthcare, etc etc

    • tracey 1.2

      Hi Mickey

      I listened to that and wondered about the collection of the data. I guess I WANT to believe that;

      A, they are dropping;
      B. the drop will continue because it is the effect of government policy

      • mickysavage 1.2.1

        There was also a recent anomaly about the collection of domestic violence statistics which I blogged about a few months ago (http://thestandard.org.nz/lies-damn-lies-and-crime-statistics/)

        Briefly it records an increase in DV incidents between 2010 and 2013 by about 10% BUT a decrease in incidents where an offence was recorded which dropped by about 17%.

        If the police are not recording offences as often as they used to then it is likely abuse is also being reported less.

        Strange that DV incidents go up but reporting goes down …

        • tracey 1.2.1.1

          I hear you. If we were a transparent democracy, we would have information attached to ALL Government Press releases, for those who care to read, that addresses the possibility (or not) of such anomolies.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3

      Is this a recent change, that ngos are picking up more work?

      If so, in what sense are this year’s statistics comparable to last years in any meaningful way at all?

      • Macro 1.3.1

        Yes it is a recent change and the reality is that now we have no idea whether the total numbers of abused children has dropped or not. 🙁 Non physical (verbal and psychological) abuse cases have not been recorded in these numbers as they were in the past.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    “The Government yesterday released child abuse figures for the year ending June 2014. The figure fell by 2306, or 12 per cent, on the previous year.”

    Im suspicious about these sort of ‘government says’ this or that, using numbers which they have collected ( and massaged) to show how good they are.

    We all remember the Wairarapa police team investigating child abuse, who just stuck files in a cabinet and never did any investigation let alone recorded them in the statistics.

    Sometimes a ‘drop’ can come about by simply reducing the hours of the call centre where reports are made !

    • Gosman 2.1

      You are mistaking Government with the (supposedly) independent Government agencies that are responsible for reporting. If the Government was attempting to reduce figures using different reporting techniques then it should be easy enough to identify. There will be a paper trail where the Government agency is requested to change. All you need to do is submit an OIO request. Of course you could just continue to mindlessly speculate for political purposes. I wonder which option you are likely to choose…

      • Rosemary McDonald 2.1.1

        “There will be a paper trail where the Government agency is requested to change. All you need to do is submit an OIO request. ”

        Hmm. Could be a problem with that. Agencies who contract to the government to provide disability assessements and coordinate services (NASCs) are not subject to the OIA.

        Whanau Ora, and its agencies are not subject to OIA.

        Perhaps some are getting lost in the neoliberal mire?

        • tracey 2.1.1.1

          it seems odd to me that organisations getting so much of their operating funds from taxpayer are not subject to oia. hopefully their minister is not hands off so has alot of correspondence with them.

        • McFlock 2.1.1.2

          Even if the contracting agencies were subject to OIA, if the reporting criteria changed in the contracting out process there wouldn’t necessarily be a formal request to change the scope of the criteria. Anyone looking to find the change would have to manually compare requirements for each service.

          It is one of the functions a minister would theoretically do before sign-off, but we saw how well ministerial oversight worked with novapay…

          But one never knows, there might well have been a substantial decrease in abuse. We can but hope 🙂

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.2.1

            I read somewhere that European nations reported a marked decrease in violence against children after they outlawed “physical correction”, aka assault.

            Pretty sure it was one of the submissions to the “anti-National Party Parenting Style” bill.

    • tracey 2.2

      Ghost

      See my response to Mickey

      I figured commenters would address the possible stats and lies issue 😉

      I would hope that any government’s stat collection on such an important issue would include all sources (i.e. non government orgs). We shouldn’t need to do OIA’s every time the government releases something like this, it should be included and/or attached to the Press release.

      I listened to the reporter from Canberra this morning. The Aussies seem much more grown-up about politics in many ways than we do. They seem to have seen through Abbott quickly. Apparently he pursues things if they save money, and if they turn out to not be so great just drops them… sound familiar? But Aussies are apparently expecting and now demanding coherent policy direction first… (mind you they voted him in). Take, also, the recent incident of an on court television presenter asking a world class female athlete to “give us a twirl” (so “we” can see what and who you are wearing). Apparently this too has been met with widespread amazement and embarrassment. Our PM would probably tell us which tennis player he fantasizes about (cf the actress he drooled about).

      Our children hear how our leaders speak of people. They hear how their parents speak of men and women, beneficiaries, disabled,rich and they accept it for themselves. THAT is why leadership matters.

  3. greywarshark 3

    The picture of Anne Tolley?/woman looks like a career woman hard-line jail governor. Just my quick reaction to it. And the falling stats for child abuse. Unbelievable. Somewhere they have been sidelined into a dark room and manipulated, then let back into the sunlight. Things aren’t getting better. And no change with system or it worsening, will be matched by the stats for violence and harm and pervading angst.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    I don’t believe this statistic.

    We’ve seen this government massage the figures too many times to trust anything they say at face value. In particular, the way public expenditure has been removed from OIA scrutiny is a major cause for concern (leaving the ideological pretence that the private sector is a more efficient service provider to one side).

    I wish I did believe this statistic because it would be a good bit of news.

    Look for anyone in a position of authority who contradicts it to be given the Slater treatment. They probably already have been, given the overt threats the National Party has made against charitable organisations.

  5. kiwigunner 5

    I work in a low decile school. It is always clear when things are tough out there or when they are improving for the school community I mean. This reflects then on the children. My observation is that over recents years things have gotton tougher and this is evidenced by less folk paying for school trips, less shoes on the feet of the children and more children coming to breakfast club each day. It is also reflected in my spending more time on suspected chidl abuse / neglect cases last year than any time in the previous seven years. So in my little corner of NZ this data rings a little falsely.

    • Tracey 5.1

      thanks for the anecdotal evidence kiwigunner.

    • greywarshark 5.2

      Just a note about the report on radionz this a.m. – that parents are noticing a rise in the demands for schools’ parent contributions. Now includes for many, $500 for a laptop or whatever. Bloody ridiculous poncey ideas about what constitutes education for the youngster’s future needs and advantage.

      The world’s circumference was worked out by ancient Egyptians I think. The Persians had something else was it calculus, the Greeks, the Indians thought up the concept of nought. PC. That is pre-computer. We have so much information now that nobody can be bothered with it, we can’t take it all in. Instead we make up stories that relect our wishes and ignore the facts (emperors clothes etc.) Favourite quote goes – People can’t comprehend things like infinity, so instead we ignore it mostly, and sit down and eat cheese on toast. (NB If you mix a little mustard in with the cheese it’s very tasty.)

      Learning how to process facts and information yourself with the computer as an adjunct is what is needed. But well-off countries must have their toys. Pity that we are expected to live like a well-off country for the sake of the pride of the would-bes. Just keep papering over the cracks dear, they’ll never know what a sham we are.
      edited

      • Tracey 5.2.1

        We could try an informal scheme.

        For one year decile 10 parents make their school donation to a decile 1 school and vice versa, and the academics study the results.

        • JanM 5.2.1.1

          That would be interesting, no doubt, but of questionable value, s abuse can be the result of stress and is therefore not confined to the poor. The rich hide their goings-on as they tend to have material wealth and friendly legal beagles to hide behind,

          • Tracey 5.2.1.1.1

            I was thinking more from a financial point-of-view than abuse. It might be one way to assist the higher earners to have some understanding of what you don’t get if you can’t pay school fees.

            • JanM 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes, that would be instructive – you’d have to offer personality transplants in many cases, though, as many of the rich are used to yelling and screaming until they get their own way 🙂

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.2

        What a load of bollocks. Like arguing that today’s kids don’t need paper because their slate is enough.

        National Party vandalism underfunds low decile schools because their education policy is bigotry with lots of small print. School “fees” are a small aspect of that vandalism.

        Sheet it home to your local National Party parrot, harass the fuck out of them, because this government only has a one seat majority: hunting parrots is in this nation’s best interests.

      • Murray Rawshark 5.2.3

        Being a little pedantic here, but:

        “The world’s circumference was worked out by ancient Egyptians I think.”

        A Greek, Eratosthenes. The measurements that he based his calculation on were done in Egypt.

        “The Persians had something else was it calculus,”

        Calculus was invented by the Europeans Isaac Newton and Gottfried Liebniz in the 17th century. The Indian mathematician Bhaskara II plagiarised their work five hundred years earlier and claimed to have invented differential calculus. Europeans are still doing this, with Roy Glauber earning a Nobel Prize in Physics that should have gone to George Sudarshan.

        “the Greeks, the Indians thought up the concept of nought.”

        Babylonians, Indians and Mayans all independently invented (discovered?) zero.

        But I agree with your basic premise. Learning to use a computer gives access to a heap of data, but unless a person has developed the means to evaluate and process it, it can be worse than useless.

  6. JanM 6

    Theses statistics are essentially meaningless – the differences are too small to be significant and there are too many possible variables.
    The very stressful, competitive society we live in will always have a number of ‘victims’ and children, lacking any real independence, are the most likely to fall into that category. Until we start paying real attention to the social causes and show we ‘give a shit’ enough to do something about them, numbers may go up and down slightly, but it really is a case of ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’.
    There are good programmes available for schools and pre-schools to support children seeking help – encouraging attitudes of ‘my body belongs to me’, but results, I imagine will be somewhat variable, and not helped by the fact that there has developed some well-founded negativity about CYF from the ‘frontliners’ (usually teachers) based on past experience.

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