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Removal of S59 Gross Failure to Tackle Child Abuse

Media Release

Removal of S59 a Gross Failure to Tackle Child Abuse

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"The removal of section 59 is covering up a gross failure to tackle the causes of child abuse," Lindsay Mitchell, welfare commentator said today.

"The first evidence I can find of government agencies acknowledging child abuse is from 1967. Child Welfare conducted a survey of the 210 confirmed cases that year. What they found was a strong association between illegitimacy and child abuse. Maori children were 6 times more likely to be victims."

"That's forty years ago and policy makers are still refusing to face this reality, wringing hands over unpartnered, teenage birth and claiming all these girls need is more support in bringing up their babies. The focus of that support has largely been financial thereby inadvertently exacerbating the problem. Pay girls to have and keep babies and that is what they will do, whether or not they are emotionally capable of parenting them."

"It snuck below the radar last week that the teenage birth rate had risen again. It has climbed for four consecutive years. The Maori rate is more than four times higher than NZ European."

"Rather than fiddling with section 59 we should be stopping welfare to teenagers, blitzing contraception use and encouraging adoption. Do we have any politicians brave enough to act on these ideas?"


ENDS

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