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Child abuse : what role does poverty play Donna Wynd

By: Wynd, Donna.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Auckland, N.Z. : Child Poverty Action Group, 2013Description: electronic document (44 p.); PDF file: 653.54 KB.ISBN: 978-0-9922586-0-3.Subject(s): PATU TAMARIKI | CHILD ABUSE | Child Poverty Action Group | RECOMMENDED READING | CHILD NEGLECT | CHILD POVERTY | MĀORI | POVERTY | RISK FACTORS | PACIFIC PEOPLES | PASIFIKA | TUAKOKA | NEW ZEALANDOnline resources: Click here to access online Summary: The maltreatment and neglect of children matter because they cause harm to children at the time of the abuse and long afterwards. There is now a substantial body of research linking child abuse with poor outcomes in childhood and/or into adolescence and later life. Consequences of maltreatment, including psychological abuse and neglect, can be physical and/or psychological and these effects cannot always be separated from each other (for example brain damage can lead to behavioural problems). Other consequences for victims may include an increased likelihood of smoking, obesity, high-risk sexual behaviours, unintended pregnancy, alcohol and drug use, fear, isolation, an inability to trust others, low self-esteem, depression and difficulties forming and maintaining Relationships. In addition, It is estimated approximately one-third of abused and neglected children will eventually victimise their own children (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2008a). Yet the paramount reason that child abuse is unacceptable is because it violates their human rights as children. Present and future social and economic costs are not the only – nor even the main – reason child maltreatment and neglect should be of concern to the government and public. As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), New Zealand has a legal obligation to protect and promote children’s rights to provision, protection and participation. A great deal of research has gone into determining the risk factors for child maltreatment and neglect, and a broad range of factors is recognized including the child him/herself, caregivers, the family, neighbourhoods and social settings, social and economic policy settings, and the dynamics and relationships between these actors. A consistent theme in the formal research is the role of poverty in child maltreatment and neglect. The association between child abuse and poverty is reflected in New Zealand data. Rates of hospital admissions for assault, neglect and maltreatment were significantly higher for the most deprived two deciles of New Zealand’s population. Rates of poverty for Māori and Pacific people are consistently double that of European/Pakeha people, regardless of which measure is used (Perry, 2012, p. 118), and Māori and Pacific children were 3.24 and 2.26 times respectively more likely to be admitted to hospital for intentional injuries than European children between 2000-2011 (Craig & et al, 2012, pp. 56-60). A 2000 literature review published by the then Ministry of Social Policy on the physical abuse and neglect of children by family members noted the role of poverty and the role of individuals’ and families’ ability to cope with economic and other stress (Angus & Pilott, 2000). 4 Improving incomes is unlikely on its own to stop the maltreatment and neglect of children in New Zealand but the evidence strongly suggests it needs to be an integral part of any policy package aimed at reducing child abuse. Other factors that would improve outcomes for children and whānau are improved access to affordable, stable housing, and better access to primary healthcare and early childhood care and education. These all form part of the protective environment that could be established and maintained for children in New Zealand. (from the Summary)
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The maltreatment and neglect of children matter because they cause harm to children at the time of the abuse and long afterwards. There is now a substantial body of research linking child abuse with poor outcomes in childhood and/or into adolescence and later life. Consequences of maltreatment,
including psychological abuse and neglect, can be physical and/or psychological and these effects cannot always be separated from each other (for example brain damage can lead to behavioural problems). Other consequences for victims may include an increased likelihood of smoking, obesity, high-risk sexual behaviours, unintended pregnancy, alcohol and drug use, fear, isolation, an inability to trust others, low self-esteem, depression and difficulties forming and maintaining Relationships. In addition, It is estimated approximately one-third of abused and neglected children will eventually
victimise their own children (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2008a). Yet the paramount reason that child abuse is unacceptable is because it violates their human rights as children. Present and future social and economic costs are not the only – nor even the main – reason child maltreatment
and neglect should be of concern to the government and public. As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), New Zealand has a legal obligation to protect and promote children’s rights to provision, protection and participation. A great deal of research has gone into determining the risk factors for child maltreatment and neglect,
and a broad range of factors is recognized including the child him/herself, caregivers, the family, neighbourhoods and social settings, social and economic policy settings, and the dynamics and relationships between these actors.
A consistent theme in the formal research is the role of poverty in child maltreatment and neglect. The association between child abuse and poverty is reflected in New Zealand data. Rates of hospital admissions for assault, neglect and maltreatment were significantly higher for the most deprived two deciles of New Zealand’s population. Rates of poverty for Māori and Pacific people are consistently double that of European/Pakeha people, regardless of which measure is used (Perry, 2012, p. 118), and Māori and Pacific children were 3.24 and 2.26 times respectively more likely to be admitted to hospital for intentional injuries than European children between 2000-2011 (Craig & et al, 2012, pp. 56-60). A 2000 literature review published by the then Ministry of Social Policy on the physical abuse and neglect of children by family members noted the role of poverty and the role of individuals’ and families’ ability to cope with economic and other stress (Angus & Pilott, 2000).
4 Improving incomes is unlikely on its own to stop the maltreatment and neglect of children in New Zealand but the evidence strongly suggests it needs to be an integral part of any policy package aimed at reducing child abuse. Other factors that would improve outcomes for children and whānau are improved access to affordable, stable housing, and better access to primary healthcare and early childhood care and education. These all form part of the protective environment that could be established and maintained for children in New Zealand. (from the Summary)