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Govt failure to address family violence

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The Government's failure to address family violence means New Zealand can no longer claim to be a good place to bring up children, Labour social welfare spokesperson Steve Maharey said.

Mr Maharey is supporting the comments of visiting American expert on child abuse Dr Astrid Heger, who has criticised the lack of leadership by the Government.

"The social and economic benefits of early intervention are well known.

"A 1996 study found that a dollar invested in care and protection services returned four dollars in savings to other Government programmes. The social benefits exceeded 11 dollars per dollar invested.

"These figures don't include any valuation of the benefits of a happier childhood free of abuse, improved education performance leading to a lifetime of increased productivity and the value of preventing cross-generational abuse.

"The National Government has failed to implement measures to break the cycle of violence," Mr Maharey said.

"CYPFA is investigating almost 100 cases of child sexual abuse a month. Total investigations, including physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, have reached almost 900 a month.

"That's just the cases CYPFA is able to investigate. The number of notifications is running 12 percent ahead of the level the agency is funded for.

"Labour intends to make a children's agenda of policies central to the election campaign.

"The next Labour Government will mount a major strategy on issues of violence. No child should grow up in a family where abuse is taken to be a normal part of life.

"A Government has to show leadership. Labour is determined to restore New Zealand's damaged reputation as a safe and caring place to bring up children," Steve Maharey said.

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