by Metiria Turei
It was great to see the Ministry of Social Development report released yesterday confirming that our law to help keep children safe is working.
The MSD report found:
“I have not been able to find any evidence to show that parents are being subject to unnecessary state intervention for occasionally lightly smacking their children or of any other unintended consequences of the Act.”
I believe that one of the best things about our bill to help protect children (and Sue Bradford’s championing of it!) is that it has contributed to raising awareness of family violence and to changing peoples attitudes towards violence against children.
This can be seen in the significant rise in the people telling the police when they see children being assaulted and more abusive adults being arrested.
The MSD report found that increased prosecutions for child abuse:
“… may reflect increasing community awareness and intolerance of serious family violence. Many factors are likely to contribute to this. In my view this trend indicates that many New Zealanders wish to see the victims of such violence made safe and the perpetrators held to account.”
Everyone knows that New Zealand has a big problem with child abuse – our law helps to keep children safe but it won’t stop abuse by itself. It is a step in the right direction.
A lot more work is needed to make sure all our children are looked after. But there is hope – attitudes are changing, people are changing, our country is changing.