Unite Waitemata: No to New Child Protection Laws
Media Release from Unite Waitemata
No to New Child Protection Laws
The Waitemata Branch of the Unite Union says that National’s proposed new child protection laws will not protect children, and will simply do further harm to families, already devastated by welfare reforms.
“Surveillance and harsh punishments is not the
answer to family violence" said Janet Robin, President of
“Raising incomes and genuine support and respect for struggling families is.”
Research such as that recently published by the Child Poverty Action group show that while most beneficiaries are very good parents, the stresses of poverty can contribute to family violence.
Ms Robin said government’s welfare reforms are themselves violence towards vulnerable children and contravene the United Nations Rights of the Child for necessities of life. “Halving a family’s income simply because the parent fails to get to an appointment on time is violence towards the whole family”, she sad. “ No child can be fed, housed , clothed, educated, and nurtured on half a benefit.”
Even more concerning is that the proposed laws contravene fundamental principles of law and justice.
“Not being allowed to see a child you love for ten years, and not being allowed to be near any children at all, simply for being in a room where some violence may have occurred, is absolutely outrageous! “she said.
The Government also wants to be able to instantly sack any government employee on the mere suspicion that he or she might have abused children. This is a blatant attack on worker’s rights!” said Ms Robin.
“The government is treating the poor like an inferior underclass in a manner which smacks of racism” she said.
“Strengthening the guardianship rights of foster parents at the expense of those of the child’s own parents is nothing short of theft of the children of the poor”, she said.
“Foster parents are severely underfunded in any case, as are foster homes, and there is evidence that many foster homes and parents are not coping” she said.
“Workers and beneficiaries need to Unite against these attacks on our families which are only aimed at dividing us”, she said.
“ Instead of just focussing on abuse of children, the government needs to focus on violence in the family as a whole, particularly violence towards women,” she said. "Violence towards women and children goes hand in hand."
“The government needs to fully fund agencies which support women and children suffering from violence and abuse including women’s refuges, rape crisis centres and counselling services.”
“Instead these agencies teeter
on the brink of extinction for lack of funds, and we see ACC
and WINZ expressing a preference to not fund counselling at
at all any more, or to limit the amount
"Even funding for separating families has been cut."
“Rather than sacking employees on the basis of rumour, the government should make sure that complaints are fairly investigated and that current procedures are properly followed. “ said Ms Robin.