Sta­tis­tics make grim read­ing

South Taranaki Star - - OUT & ABOUT - KATY WIL­SON

By the time you read this we will have de­cided who will run the coun­try for the next three years.

Most of us would have been in­flu­enced by the is­sues that af­fect us the most: the econ­omy, ed­u­ca­tion, health, hous­ing and the en­vi­ron­ment when mak­ing our de­ci­sion.

But when we voted, how many of us con­sid­ered the 56 chil­dren who died as a re­sult of child abuse and ne­glect be­tween 2009 and 2015?

Con­sider this chill­ing statis­tic be­fore we go any fur­ther. The Fam­ily Vi­o­lence Death Re­view Com­mit­tee fig­ures show that be­tween 2009 and 2015, no fewer than 45 chil­dren un­der five died as a re­sult of child abuse.

Of those deaths, 34 were caused by phys­i­cal as­saults. Those sta­tis­tics in­clude some all-too fa­mil­iar names; Chris and Cru Kahui, Nia Glassie, and Moko Sayviah Ran­gi­to­heriri; names that are fa­mil­iar for the wrong rea­sons.

Fam­ily vi­o­lence is New Zealand’s na­tional shame, it is some­thing we don’t want to talk about enough and when we do talk about it we do it in the wrong way.

We still tend to blame the adult vic­tim of abuse for not be­ing pro­tec­tive of their chil­dren by not walk­ing away from the vi­o­lence. Some peo­ple even la­bel the per­pe­tra­tor as a ‘‘good par­ent who just snapped’’.

A fam­ily vi­o­lence death is never just the re­sult of some­one ‘‘snap­ping’’. It is al­most al­ways the re­sult of a pat­tern of harm to­wards the vic­tims.

If you know some­one is vi­o­lent to­wards ei­ther their chil­dren or their part­ner, they are not a good par­ent. It doesn’t mat­ter if they take their child to school ev­ery day, or cook them din­ner, or take them fish­ing on the week­end. No one is a good par­ent if they are ex­pos­ing their chil­dren to vi­o­lence.

Pre­vent­ing the death of more chil­dren and keep­ing vic­tims safe is a col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity, not just the re­spon­si­bil­ity of an in­di­vid­ual or agency.

Ev­ery time we know vi­o­lence is hap­pen­ing in our com­mu­nity, there is an op­por­tu­nity to speak up and pre­vent some­thing more se­ri­ous from hap­pen­ing.

If we want to stop more chil­dren turn­ing into sta­tis­tics like Nia and Moko, we need to start think­ing and talk­ing dif­fer­ently when it comes to in­ti­mate part­ner vi­o­lence and child abuse.

Have a think about it, what are you go­ing to do to stop an­other child be­com­ing the next fam­ily vi­o­lence statis­tic?


We wel­come let­ters to the editor, 250 words or less pre­ferred. Pub­lished at the sole dis­cre­tion of the editor and they may be edited. In­clude your ad­dress and phone num­ber (not for pub­li­ca­tion). Send to Taranaki Star, 96 Collins St, 4610 or PO Box 428, Haw­era or email to star@dai­ Dead­line: Fridays 4pm.

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