Judith Collins: Child Abuse Reports Soar
16 July 2004
National Party Family Spokesperson
Child Abuse Reports Soar
I was alarmed by the statistics showing the increase in the number of child abuse reports made to Child Youth and Family (CYF). The number of suspected child abuse cases has risen by 10,000 in the past year, representing a 31% increase. These statistics are frightening and even more so when we consider that these are only the cases that have been reported. The most worrying statistic is the increase of suspected critical cases - where CYF is required to act within 24 hours. The number of critical reports of child abuse has increased in every part of New Zealand.
These results are is an absolute national disgrace. As I said in The New Zealand Herald yesterday, "the land of milk and honey" has become "the land of broken bones and black eyes". Statistics like these give a lie to statements that New Zealand is a great place to bring up children. New Zealand is one of the worst countries in the world for reported child abuse. We are one of only four countries where child death rates from maltreatment have increased since 1970.
The most obvious reason for the dramatic increase is the breakdown of the family unit. This is something I have spoken and written about continuously since being appointed National's Family Spokeswoman at the end of last year. The importance of the family is not emphasised enough in New Zealand. It doesn't fit very well with a big government mentality and it doesn't fit very well with the "anything goes" mentality embraced by social planners since the 1970's. I would like to think that the tragedies of little children like Coral Ellen Burrows and Lilybing at least make us, as politicians, start standing up for commonsense and truth. Children need functioning families and they need them now.
Families Commission The Families Commission is to be launched on Monday. National opposed the Bill establishing the Commission. This was the Bill which had a meaning of family that including any group with a psychological attachment. I am, however, willing to keep an open mind on how effective the Commission will be. I am concerned that political correctness will nobble any sensible initiatives. I am shortly meeting with the Commissioner to discuss the operation of the Commission. It's continued life is very much going to depend on its effectiveness and relevance.
Education Recently, Bill English outlined some points for National's forthcoming education policy. It you would like further details, these can be found on www.national.org.nz . I'm sure that parents, teachers and students will find it refreshing, sensible and relevant.