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TV Ads Change Attitutudes Towards Child Neglect



Television advertisements developed for Child, Youth and Family's Neglect Prevention Programme are changing the way New Zealanders think about child neglect, according to research undertaken by Colmar Brunton.

"23% of the parents and caregivers surveyed said they changed their thinking after seeing the ads. They also told us that the behaviour they most want to improve on is spending time doing things together with their children," social worker and spokesperson Elizabeth Walker said today.

"Results for Maori and Pacific Islands populations were even more impressive. A quarter of Maori and almost half of the Pacific Islands parents and caregivers reported a positive change in their thinking."

The research measured: - Understanding of what child neglect is - The perceived size and seriousness of the problem - The perceived effect that neglect has on children

Compared to research carried out before the television commercials aired: - More parents and caregivers now believe that child neglect is a serious problem (up eight points to 89%) - More caregivers now recognise the following behaviours as neglectful; not showing love and affection (up 13 points to 52%); not spending time with a child (up 18 points to 38%); not talking or listening to a child (up 12 points to 24%). - More people now understand that children's emotional well-being is affected by neglect.

"This research shows that television advertising is a very effective way to raise public awareness of child abuse and neglect, and more importantly to help improve the way we parent our children." Elizabeth Walker said.

Three commercials were developed for the Neglect Prevention Programme. The first, which featured a mother giving birth, highlighted the importance of the early years of a child's development. Two others focused on the dangers of leaving children home alone and the harmful effects of emotional neglect.

The commercials will run again for two weeks from 23 January and will be supported by a free-phone help line where the public can request brochures about parenting information. The help line number is 0800 777 333.


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