Poverty link to risk of child abuse cannot be ignored – Child Poverty Action Group


Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) supports and endorses the open letter by the Human Rights Commission calling on the Prime Minister to initiate an independent inquiry into the abuse of people held in State care, in order to “identify the systemic issues that permitted this to occur and the broader impact of these events on our communities.”

The open letter specifically calls for the Government to:
– Publicly apologise to those who were affected, including those who were abused, their families and whānau.
– Take other appropriate steps to acknowledge the harm that has been caused to the victims and to provide them with appropriate redress and rehabilitation; and
– Take action to ensure this never happens again.CPAG agrees that the inquiry is indeed the “right thing to do”.

It is appalling that the victims of such grievous harm have never been provided a proper chance to recover from the treatment they suffered at the hands of state-provided caregivers, and that their abusers have never been held accountable for the crimes they committed.

We need an absolute assurance that this kind of abuse will never occur again for children who are placed into care situations. With the child welfare system reforms in progress, all care must be taken to ensure that the problems of the past are not repeated and that all children are protected.

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CPAG has submitted this week on the Oranga Tamariki Legislation Bill. This is the second phase of the Bill, of which the first was passed in 2016. In its 2016 submission CPAG urged the Select Committee to recognise the causative link between deprivation (poverty) and child risk and recommended that Government take a preventative approach by ensuring all families with children have incomes adequate to meet their basic needs and that measures be provided to ensure that abuses of children in state care do not occur.

In this latest submission CPAG said that the well-being and best interests of the child must be the paramount consideration and considers that the removal of the whānau first clause is a direct opposition to the child’s well-being.

CPAG does not consider that the “further specific steps in relation to improving outcomes for Māori children” in Clause 12 of the Bill are meaningful provisions, given that many Māori are opposed to the removal of “whānau first,” and the evidence is that taking children away from their whānau and cutting them off from their culture is overwhelmingly detrimental to them in the long term.

“A better way of ensuring more positive outcomes for Māori children would be to restore whānau first and acknowledge the role poverty plays in poor outcomes for children and take steps to address that,” says Associate Professor Mike O’Brien, social security spokesperson for CPAG.

Until Government acknowledges the role of poverty in poor outcomes for children and takes steps to address it, its actions will be ineffective in achieving significant change.

See CPAG’s submission here, and visit http://www.neveragain.co.nz/ to sign the Human Rights Commission’s open letter.


  1. Poverty leads to societal dysfunction? No shit Sherlock.

    One day, before I die, I’d like to see these words.

    ” People against Poverty rage against government ! Parliament Buildings on fire! roger douglas and others found hanged. Foreign Banks closed. Assets frozen pending public inquiry. Fay,Richwhite, Gibb, hart, chandler etc in focus and sought in connection to tax fraud and evasion. “

    Courtesy News Hub.

    ( New Zealand’s two richest men – Graeme Hart and Richard Chandler – have an estimated $12.8 billion between them, according to the report. Mr Chandler’s name popped up in the Panama Papers last year –  with his Singapore-based Richard Chandler Corporation using Mossack Fonseca to set up two companies in tax haven the Bahamas. )

    Enough talk. Act ! Trouble is…who first ?

    • well I think they are beginning to get a little ‘worried’ @ Countryboy.
      As Dear OLD Rache once said – it won’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen.
      And when you think about it purely in mathematical terms, a 1% versus whatever number you choose (whether it’s a 99%, or even a 40 or 50 or 60 – depending on circumstance) – the chances aren’t that shit hot are they.
      But then there was some other sage that attempted to rationalise and justify things – I think that was around the time they started hanging people up on lamp posts when the super weaponry didn’t seem to be making much headway.
      Oh how much easier if that 1% just equipped themselves with a little humility and compassion.
      Who’d have thought Rache was such a sage!

  2. It is not rocket science crime and abuse go hand in hand in the lower socio economic sectors of society and I am sure it has risen in the past 30-40 years with the rise of neoliberalism and the dog eat dog mentality of the free market.

  3. Um…not sure if TDB will let this one slip thru but awfully appropriate that English is R.C. It sure raises the question which God does he bow his head to:
    …’cause if English is true to his religion he will follow the dictates that poverty, greed, war, deceit, deception, child abuse and misery come with this god.
    Nothing like the truth. It will set us free.

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