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Every Child Counts urges attention to children

20 December 2006

Media statement

Every Child Counts urges attention to children and safety in the festive season

As Christmas approaches and schools break-up for the year, the Every Child Counts coalition is urging parents, caregivers and extended family members to keep children safe during festivities, by sharing the workload and the privilege of caring for the children.

“During the festive season, whether at home or away on holiday, most parents will experience Christmas as a busy time; making preparations, hosting and enjoying the festivities. For many, this time of the year also brings stress with it and we know this sometimes leads to friction and family violence. Celebrations can be more fun for everyone if families share the workload and share the fun of caring for, and entertaining, children,” says Deborah Morris-Travers, Every Child Counts Project Manager.

“Having an adult dedicated to spending time with the children, and ensuring their safety, can help children have a great time while other family members are busy or engaged in festivities. A dedicated child minder is not only a good idea for the children but it means adults can also take turns spending time with the precious, smaller, family members.”

“For most New Zealanders, even those who do not celebrate Christmas itself, the festive season is a time for focusing on family and friends in a positive way. However, it can also be a time when reports of family violence increase. It is important that the stress of the season and alcohol do not become excuses for violence. The records for 2005 show that 62,615 children and young people under the age of 17 were involved in incidents involving family violence throughout the year. This is an extremely high number of young people affected by violence.

“Every Child Counts urges families to alleviate stress and keep children safe by working together, providing support to parents, and focusing on the simple things that can make this a wonderful and special time for the children,” concluded Ms Morris-Travers.


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