Statistics make grim reading
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?
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