Tuesday, 31 July 2007

31 July 2007 - Family Integrity #275 -- Govt has radical plan on child abuse

Dear Friends,

Here are two press releases from today which make it clear, if it wasn't already, that New Zealand has crossed over the line into a socialist totalitarian regime ruled by an elite group (MPs), 50% of whom, because of our MMP electoral system, are not accountable to the voters of any electorate. The behaviour of these MPs over the last few legislative issues (banning of smacking, legalising of prostitution, setting up civil unions) demonstrates that we do not live in a democracy, for the MPs have dropped all pretense of giving any heed to what the vast majorities (80-90% in these three issues named) of voters wanted. Note how every family is suspect and will be questioned to see if they are perhaps innocent. New Zealand used to have the legal understanding that you were innocent until proven guilty. No more.


Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home....Our Castle

if Section59 is repealed - or replaced...

(When reading these, always remember that "violence" includes any form of smacking/spanking regardless of the context plus any force whatsoever no matter how light or reasonable if the force was used for the purpose of correction. Sadly "correction" is not defined in law here, so it is not clear what is meant, although the police have issued guidelines which indicate that it includes "discipline" and "punishment".)

Govt has radical plan on child abuse
| Tuesday, 31 July 2007

LATEST: All women will be questioned about family violence whenever they go to a public hospital, the Government said today.



What do you think of the Government's plan? Click here to send us your feedback editorial@stuff.co.nz
Speaking on Radio New Zealand, acting Social Development minister Steve Maharey said the plan would kick off tomorrow.

* Has anybody hurt or threatened you?

* Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised?

* Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn't want to do?

Under the new move, piloted at National Women's Hospital, any woman who answered 'yes' to one or more of the three questions would be further questioned to find out if she was pregnant and if there were children at home.

Mr Maharey said the move was among several measures being taken.

"Frontline health workers of hospitals will be working with all people who come through hospitals in future, children, families to look at whether there is violence in the family, whether there's any kind of assistance that can be given," Mr Maharey told Radio New Zealand.

While it will now be formal policy many hospitals are already doing something similar.

In March Bay of Plenty District Health Board announced it would become latest DHB to automatically screen all women over 16 for signs of family violence.

Most DHBs from around the country had adopted the programme over the past four years.

The move was one of a range of initiatives including a previously announced $14 million campaign starting in September to send a message violence was unacceptable and tell people how to get help.

There will be a helpline that will direct people to assistance.

Mr Maharey said the announcement was planned before two recent cases hit the national headlines.

On Saturday a 12-week-old Rotorua boy was taken to Starship Hospital with head injuries and three-year-old Nia Glassie remains in the same hospital six days after being treated for serious injuries following allegations of abuse which include being hung from a washing line and spun in a clothes dryer.

Auckland District Health Board family violence co-ordinator Kathy Lowe said nurses were required to ask the first three questions of every woman aged 16 to 65 and every caregiver of children even if they came to hospital for something like an ingrown toenail.

Yesterday social groups and politicians called for stronger tackling of child abuse.

Four people - three men and a woman - reappeared in Rotorua District Court court yesterday accused of abusing Nia and were further remanded.

A fifth man also facing similar charges and police have not yet ruled out further arrests.

The unrelated Rotorua cases have reignited the debate about New Zealand's high rate of child abuse, little over a year after the death of three-month-old twins Cru and Chris Kahui in Auckland sparked a similar debate.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said Maori needed to face up to child abuse problems in their community.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said he was ashamed to hear about every case of child abuse among Maori.

He said problems of child abuse stemmed from a dysfunctional culture which happened among poverty-stricken and underachieving communities, a group in which Maori were too highly represented, and that Maori needed to take ownership of the problem and working towards solutions.

National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges chief executive Heather Henare said the cases were shocking but warned against "Maori-bashing".

"We need to make sure we are not alienating whanau and that increased support goes into preventing such abuse from happening.

"The overwhelming majority of Maori are sickened by child abuse, and deserve support and encouragement to face the challenge of breaking the cycle of violence within their hapu and whanau."

Prime Minister Helen Clark called for people to act when they knew of abuse.

"I cannot believe that a child subjected to that level of horror, sadism, torture - that nobody knew," she said.

"I can't believe that and people have got to start turning in those who frankly are maiming and killing our children."

National welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins said Miss Clark's Government had done little to stop child abuse since the death of the Kahui twins.

"What we do know is that Helen Clark's promise to identify clusters of at-risk families was never carried out and that the cross-party talkfest on child violence ended up largely being a repackaging of policies which Labour was already rolling out," she said.

"Our record on child abuse is a national disgrace. If Labour thought smacking legislation was the answer they were mistaken."

Non governmental Groups called for increased education and greater community involvement.



Stopping the cycle of violence against children
Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 10:34 am
Press Release: Green Party

31 July 2007

Stopping the cycle of violence against children

Each of us need to take responsibility and action to stop violence against children wherever and whenever we see it happening, including within our own families, Green Party MP Sue Bradford says.

"The success of my recent bill to amend s59 of the Crimes Act took just one step towards this goal, by removing the 'reasonable force' defence which legitimized violence against children for the purposes of correction. As a result, our legal system no longer mandates child beating," Ms Bradford says.

"However, all of us involved in the campaign around s59 knew full well that this was only one part of what needs to change. Rather than devote energy into blaming and scapegoating others, we need to work towards :
* Increasing funding to tangata whenua and community sector groups which support families in trouble, and which educate parents about alternatives to violence, including the SKIP programme

* Revitalising the Cross Party Working Group on Family Violence with the goal of genuinely working for policies that all, or most, political parties can buy into

* More parenting education in schools from a young age, so children grow up having a much better appreciation of the realities of becoming a parent

* A serious commitment by Government to do a lot more to end child and adult poverty, and substandard housing

* Continuing to improve the capacity of Government agencies to work with families in a genuinely developmental way - rather than perpetuating patronising and dismissive approaches which can harm and alienate the very people who most need support to change

* Reconsideration of the 'Work First' ethic of current welfare and Working for Families policies which implies that it is better for everyone, even the mothers of young children, to be in the paid work than at home caring for their children.

"It is also ironic that Bob McCroskie of Family First is mounting a campaign to reintroduce corporal punishment in schools at this time.

"Mr McCroskie still does not seem to understand that violence breeds violence. Such a measure, if successful, would only emphasise the message that it's good to beat kids - which creates the effects we see all around us today.


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