Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Dunne Speaks: What to do about Child Abuse

Dunne Speaks

10 September 2015

Every day the government collects information about some aspect or other of our lives. Whenever we interact with a government agency, some sort of record is generated about us. A visit to the doctor, the pharmacist, the local school, the Police, paying a traffic fine, or calling ACC will have a similar effect.

In the information age, there is not much we can do to stop all this. It is difficult to have the advantage of increasingly joined-up government services without acknowledging some of the costs. And in most cases, anyway, privacy law and the rather mundane nature of the information gathered means it is not really a major issue.

What we have to guard against is the government’s desire for information becoming insatiable and overbearing, and its failing to use the information already gathered to maximum positive benefit. This is no more important and relevant than in the case of vulnerable and abused children, and our response.

We all know of the significant problem of child abuse in New Zealand. Over the years, successive governments have poured millions of dollars into agencies like CYFS, and special programmes, yet the frequency of child abuse seems no less and in some cases considerably worse than it was in years gone by. CYFS has undergone frequent reviews, yet is still treated warily by many New Zealanders as an agency of state that interferes unduly in the lives of New Zealand families.

At the same time, through various longitudinal studies, and through the data already gathered by CYFS and other agencies, we have a pretty fair idea of who and where the at-risk families and children are in New Zealand, and in most cases could probably just about name them. Yet because of an understandable fear of stigmatising these families, we have deliberately shied away from a more direct approach, in favour of a broader brush “whole of society” approach, which has left us in the predicament we currently are.

Given the maxim about doing the same things producing the same results, is it not time to change the way we deal with vulnerable and at risk children? Why not utilise the information the government currently holds to intervene directly and early with at-risk families and children to ensure they get the love and care needed to avoid their becoming the victims of abuse later on? While governments cannot legislate to provide love and affection, they can act to ensure their resources are directed towards every child having the chance to be raised and cared for in a stable environment. No child can determine the circumstances of its birth and upbringing, but every child surely has the right to be raised in a stable and caring environment.

We have the capacity to make this change right now – but it may require a few sacred cows to be killed off first. So it is not a question of can we – we most assuredly can – but rather one of will we. Our appalling record demands that we make every effort to do so.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Compensating Afghan Civilian Casualties

Reportedly, there have been nine incidents resulting in 17 civilian deaths and injuries (seven of the dead were children) caused by ordnance left behind on what used to be the firing range of our Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamiyan province.

Given that the NZ Defence Force has needed to be hauled kicking and screaming into belatedly arranging an adequate clean-up of its old firing range… what would it take before New Zealand offers to pay compensation to the families of those who suffered death and injury from what was left behind on our watch? More>>

 

Fossil Fuel Investment: ACC Must Lead On Climate Change

As the largest publicly owned investor in New Zealand, the ACC board should divest from fossil fuels, demonstrating our leadership role on climate change, Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick said today. More>>

ALSO:

Total Officers, Up Less: Coalition's 1800 New Police Officers

The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. More>>

ALSO:

Predator Free: $3.5m For New Pest Controls

New Zealand First is proud to announce the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has allocated $3.5 million to develop innovative predator control approaches which will reduce the need for repeated 1080 use. More>>

ALSO:

Children's Day: Commissioner Calls For Govt Commitment

“Three decades on, we are able to celebrate some significant changes for children like the recent launch of a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. But we still have a long way to go to prioritise children’s rights.” More>>

ALSO:

Elections: Proposed Electorate Boundaries Released

The Representation Commission is proposing changes to half of New Zealand’s electorates and establishing a new electorate in south Auckland… More>>

ALSO:

"Effectively A Permanent Amnesty": Final Month For Gun Ban Compensation

The firearms buy-back comes to an end a month from today, but the police say the amnesty for returning banned guns will continue into next year and beyond. More>>

ALSO:


SPECIAL GUNS FOR FOREIGN SECURITY:


MORE ARMED POLICE:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels