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Explosion in CYF Notifications But Missing Abuse

MEDIA RELEASE

1 December 2008

Explosion in CYF Notifications But Missing Abuse

Latest figures show we’re narking on the wrong people.

Family First NZ says that CYF’s limited resources are being wasted and non-abusive parents are being targeted, with a ‘blow-out’ in CYF notifications but the levels of actual abuse not increasing.

CYF has received more than 93,200 notifications this year - up from 32,000 in the 2002–2003 period –and a 30% increase on the 2007 year. Yet actual child abuse being uncovered has shown no corresponding increase.

In Palmerston North, notifications went up from 2341 to 2691, but identified cases actually dropped from 879 to 826. Waikato figures reported in the Waikato Times in August showed an increase of notifications from 5,973 to 8,629 but those requiring further action have fallen from 3729 to 3308 that same year.

“If the increase in notifications was leading to the identification of actual child abuse which was previously being missed, this would be entirely appropriate and warranted - but it’s not. CYF is chasing its tail trying to deal with the huge explosion in notifications over the past five years but children are no safer from adults who actually are abusing them,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“We all want the public to feel compelled to report child abuse when they see it, but the ideologically flawed anti-smacking law has resulted in unwarranted reports of good parents which is a waste of the limited resources of CYF and the Police. Good families are being narked on because we have confused appropriate and reasonable parental discipline and correction with violence and assault,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“CYF and Police resources should be focusing their energies and resources on the real causes of child abuse –including drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and family breakdown and dysfunction.”

Family First NZ continues to call on the politicians to change the law so that non-abusive smacking is not a crime (as wanted by more than 80% of NZ’ers according to recent research), and a non-political Commission of Enquiry that identifies and treats the real causes of child abuse.

ENDS

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