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Surging Child Abuse Demands Social Policy Rethink

Surging Child Abuse Demands Social Policy Rethink

The latest figures showing surging child abuse notifications1 to Child Youth & Family, demand a policy rethink from the Government. Christian Heritage NZ leader Mr Ewen McQueen said that if the Government was willing to review its race relations and school closure polices in response to surging poll results for the opposition, then surely the substantial rise in reported child abuse should cause it to review its social policy in some key areas impacting family life. “Aren’t our children more important than poll results ?” he asked.

The CHNZ leader said that in particular the Government should urgently reconsider its plan to introduce the Civil Unions and Omnibus Bills. He said these bills would further undermine the institution of marriage which was the building block of stable family life. He stated,

“ There is clear evidence that children are at significantly greater risk of abuse in households where the parents are not married, and especially where the father is not the natural father of the child, but is rather the mother’s latest partner2. Given this the Government should be doing all it can to promote the formal, public, lifelong commitment defined by marriage. It should not be continuing to promote the idea through legislation, such as these Bills, that marriage doesn’t matter. It does – and for many of our children it matters an awful lot. ”

Mr McQueen said that marriage more than any other type of relationship provided the long term parental commitment needed to produce stable family life and improved outcomes for children. Ultimately it was such commitment that gave children security and lowered the risk of child abuse – not social workers.

Noting the extra $120million the Government was now injecting into Child Youth and Family to fund extra social workers, Mr McQueen said,

“ What is the point of spending more money on social workers in the short term, when the Government is pushing ideological policy agendas which in the medium to long term will further destabilise family life, and hence contribute to more child abuse. Yes we have to deal with the current crisis. But if the extra spending is not to be wasted we need to start dealing with the underlying risk factors to prevent child abuse. That means rebuilding the ethic of commitment back into our relationship culture. The Civil Unions & Omnibus Bills will do the opposite. They should be reviewed. ”

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