Family Violence in New Zealand

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Sally washed the dishes and began to dry them. All of a sudden, she heard the door slam. 'Girl! Where's my food?' the voice yelled. Sally began shaking and hunting frantically for the dish. Her seven year old fingers dropped the plate and it shattered on the floor. Her father stomped into the kitchen and began to threaten to beat her. Think this story is horrifying and unrealistic? Think again. Scenarios like this happen to thousands of children every day. Tens of thousands of children each year are traumatized by physical, sexual, and emotional abusers or by caregivers who neglect them, making child abuse as common as it is shocking.

Most of us can’t imagine what would make an adult use violence against a child, and the worse the behaviour is, the more unimaginable it seems. But the incidence of parents and other caregivers consciously, even wilfully, committing acts that harm the very children they’re supposed to be nurturing is a sad fact of human society that cuts across all lines of ethnicity and class. Whether the abuse is from the perpetrator’s mental illness, substance abuse, or inability to cope, the psychological result for each abused child is often the same: deep emotional scars and a feeling of worthlessness. Statistics show that family violence in New Zealand has increased by 20%. Child, Youth and Family had 66,210 notifications of suspected child abuse involving 47,221 children were received by Child, Youth and Family in 2005 and 2006. Now it has risen to over 130,000 notifications. Woman’s Refuge have been helping between 450–600 families per month and on average 14 woman, 6 men and 10 children are killed each year by a member of their family. Police figures report 9,630 male assaults and female assaults increased nationally by 40% in years up to 2008. Police attended 86,545 Family Violence callouts; there were roughly 200 Family Violence incidents per day one every 7 minutes. Police estimate that on average 18% of Family Violence incidents go unreported and at least 74,785 children and young people present at Family Violence incidents, 84% of those arrested are men and 16% are women. There were 3,105 temporary protection orders and 2,738 final protection orders involving approximately 10,000 children that were made by the Family Court in the year to 30 June 2006. (Barnados, Personal communications, August 2012) For children 26 child victims were murdered by men and 15 child victims were murdered by women. Men are responsible for 2/3rds of the deaths of children aged 0 – 14 years and children under one years of age are at a greater risk of being killed Mothers and fathers are equally represented as perpetrators in this age group (The First Report July 2006.) These statistics on abuse is a serious problem for such a small country. It is horrific to see how many children get abused everyday around our communities, cities and between the North and South Island. Child abuse is becoming a serious problem in New Zealand and is damaging our childs emotional, physical and cognitive development, which can lead to effects later on in life. There should be more advertising on child abuse and more people should speak up to get the help they are needed. Children are our future so we should be protecting them not hurting them. The role of the adult is to protect their children from any harm or dangerous situations and have a safe positive environment for the child to be in. The adult’s role is to care for the child and ensure that their well-being is being met and that they are nutured. Children at a young age are dependent on adults and need the guidance and support which some children are sadly not getting. The adult needs to be a positive role model in the child’s life and communicate with the child in a positive way. The role of the Early childhood educator is to care for and educate the children in their setting. It is your responsibility to keep these children safe from any harm or possible danger. Early...
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