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Ideology putting children at risk - Turner

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Ideology putting children at risk - Turner

Police and Government policy that is based on ideology not evidence is putting children at risk and unjustly targets fathers, according to United Future family spokesperson, Judy Turner.

"Today I opened up the DominionPost to see the Minister of Police and the assistant Police Commissioner smiling and sipping coffee behind a cake which has plastic diorama models of four men, presumably fathers, assaulting and beating their children who are cowering in fear.

"I am appalled. The police with the blessing of the Minister continue to perpetuate the myth that fathers are the only perpetrators of child abuse - when the fact is that mothers are in fact more often child abusers than fathers," says Mrs Turner.

The New Zealand study, Abused children in New Zealand/Aotearoa: Presentation and Investigation, analysed three hundred substantiated cases of abuse investigated by Child, Youth and Family Services and found that "Children are most often physically abused by their biological parents, and mothers were marginally more often the abusers than were fathers."

Mrs Turner notes of particular concern is that "Child abuse investigators often tolerated physical assaults on children, particularly by mothers," according to the study.

"This is because we have been fed the line that only men are violent in the home and it appears that the police bosses have accepted it hook, line and sinker. The diorama simply highlights this stereotype - but they should know better," says Mrs Turner.

"I challenge the Police Commissioner and Minister to make their family violence policies gender neutral, to stop instructing police to pre-judge who they should arrest and instead to detain perpetrators of family violence regardless of gender," says Mrs Turner.


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