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Child Poverty, Domestic Violence not taken seriously enough

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Report and release embargoed until 6am, Wednesday February 12, 2014

— Wellington, Tuesday, 11 February 2014.

Child Poverty and Domestic Violence not taken seriously enough by New Zealanders

Child poverty and domestic violence are still not being taken seriously enough by ordinary New Zealanders, says The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army today released its latest annual State of the Nation report reviewing social progress in New Zealand entitled, Striking a Better Balance.

The report acknowledges creditable progress in some areas of social wellbeing.

However, Salvation Army Social Policy Director Major Campbell Roberts is adamant, “New Zealanders are failing to convince Government that the elimination of family violence and child poverty should be a greater priority. A better balance in economic and social policy is required to put a significant dent in child poverty and domestic violence.”

In its annual report The Salvation Army gives the thumbs up to an improvement in Maori participation in early childhood education, a drop in infant mortality, reducing teenage pregnancy rates, a reduction in overall criminal offending, a drop in unemployment and a reduction in the per capita spend on gambling.

But The Salvation Army remains deeply concerned at the lack of progress in reducing child poverty, family violence, the harmful use of alcohol, and the failure to address criminal re-offending and serious crime.

“Without doubt the most disturbing data in the report relates to child poverty and family violence,” says Major Roberts. “Neither of these areas is improving. Every day Salvation Army workers see the tragic results of the failure to deal with these issues,” he says.

“Government addresses social deficits when New Zealanders indicate they require action,” he says.

“The failure of Government to effectively reduce child poverty and family violence suggests that New Zealanders are not expressing with enough strength and urgency the need for more effective government action.”

Major Roberts suggests that unless ordinary New Zealanders take these matters seriously, Government is unlikely to.

“Public pressure will help policy makers strike a better balance to ensure effective solutions are found for child poverty and domestic violence. As a nation we must take a brave and more deliberate interventionist approach if we are to see child poverty and family violence significantly reduce,” he says.

Issued on the Authority of Commissioner Robert Donaldson (Territorial Commander)
The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory

[Report: Striking_a_Better_Balance__Final_Web.pdf]

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