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Child abuse report highlights need to address poverty


31 July 2013

Child abuse report highlights need to address poverty

If the National Government wants to reduce child abuse and maltreatment it needs to stop beneficiary bashing and start addressing child poverty the Green Party said today.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) today released new research into child abuse, based on an analysis of Child Youth and Family data, which found a strong link between high rates of child poverty and high rates of abuse and neglect. However, the report is clear that there is no specific correlation between benefit receipt and child maltreatment.

“Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s White Paper for Vulnerable Children focussed on benefit dependency as an abuse risk factor and yet this report clearly states there is no correlation between benefit receipt and child maltreatment,” Green Party Children's Spokesperson Holly Walker said.

“The Minister’s White Paper and her Children’s Action Plan ignore the elephant in the room, and that’s child poverty whether your parents are on a benefit or working.


“Paula Bennett has just introduced punitive welfare policies which put beneficiary families in even more impoverished circumstances. If the Minister wants to start turning around New Zealand’s horrific child abuse rates she should start supporting families and implementing policies to lift them out of poverty, not bury them deeper.

“We need solutions that address the underlying causes of poverty such as extending Working for Families support to all low-income families, raising the minimum wage, and supporting parents to up skill and retrain.

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“Dealing effectively with child abuse will mean addressing child poverty directly.

“The Minister’s White Paper does not look at why so many New Zealand children live in hardship and are at risk of violence, and until we do this we cannot hope to reduce high rates of abuse and neglect.

"A large number of submissions to the White Paper urged the Government to address the underlying issue of child poverty, I hope in the light of this research that this will now finally be addressed,” Ms Walker said.
ends

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