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The Most Dangerous Year For Child Abuse

Posted on 20 Jul 2006

ACT Social Services Spokesman Heather Roy has released answers to Parliamentary Questions which show that of the worst five months for child abuse, three have been in 2006.

"It is more dangerous than ever to be a child in New Zealand", Mrs Roy said.

"February, March and June 2006 have been three of the worst months ever for child abuse, along with August and November 2005.

"At the end of June there were 16,173 people receiving social work services under the Children, Young Persons, And Their Families Act - 5410 (12%) more than last year.

"Over a third of referrals to Child, Youth and Family last year were for Maori families, but this is not just a Maori problem.  There is no domestic violence gene - it is a problem for all New Zealand.

"Last week's release of the Ministry of Social Development Living Standards Report shows that people do better in traditional, working families.

"In fact, children are at less risk in a one-parent family when that parent is employed, than in a two-parent family reliant on welfare.

"Government pours money into social development, but the frightening tide of child abuse is about more than poverty alone.

"New Zealand needs to re-think our approach to welfare and work.  We know that people in employment experience higher standards of living, greater self-respect and freedom from the despair of dependency.

"Government's answer has been to throw more money at the problem, but these most recent figures prove it is not the answer.

"We need to look specifically at reducing welfare dependency.

"Making people independent of government doesn't only benefit them, but their children as well", Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

Parliamentary Questions (08256- 08260 (2006)) are available from Gavin Middleton, phone (04) 470 6640 or email gavin.middleton@parliament.govt.nz.