Stop killing our children

Not another one. Not another innocent young life snuffed out by a family member.

Our national shame is the treatment of our children - entirely at odds with the image of New Zealand as a great place to live - and just when you think the situation is improving, another tragic death makes you question where it all went wrong.

We do not know much, yet, about this latest case, other than the fact police have launched a homicide investigation after finding the body of a five-month-old child at a house in Motueka.

Sunny Motueka. A lovely, vibrant spot popular with holidaymakers and fruit lovers and coffee drinkers. And the latest place where a New Zealand baby has been killed.

It is a sad reflection on how commonplace child murder has become in this country that the latest incident quickly disappeared off the home pages of the major news websites, led to little discussion on talkback radio, and did not trend on Twitter.

Have we become so used to such an absolutely horrific thing as infanticide?

Are we not embarrassed, sickened and disgusted by the frequency of child death by maltreatment?

The statistics remain awful. A New Zealand child is murdered roughly every five weeks - and 90% of the time, the guilty party is somebody who knew the child. Most of the dead children are younger than 12 months.

The numbers relating to ''lesser'' crimes are equally shocking. There are 14,000 ''substantiated findings'' of child abuse each year, police respond to a family violence call every seven minutes, and child abuse costs New Zealand about $2billion every year.

Have we actually made any progress since the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child rapped us over the knuckles in 2015 for failing to adequately protect our children?

Along with mental health and climate change, our rate of child abuse is one of the pressing issues that needs to be addressed in New Zealand.

Lifting families out of poverty is a start - the link between social class and child abuse is well documented.

Pushing to erase inequality, reducing domestic violence, encouraging social networks among young families, and providing routine access to support services are some of the steps we can take.

However this is done, it needs to be a priority.

The youngest, most vulnerable members of our society deserve to be cherished and protected.

Comments

Poverty is not a reason to murder. Neither is depressive illness, being on drugs, or being scammed by 'dealers'.

Since you have indicated 'macro' reasons, here are some more. Respect for the Rights of children has been given scant regard in NZ, due to Puritan elements of the pioneer Society. The hitting of kids continues, the 'anti smacking' law is derided as PC, and young people asserting individuality (hair length, beards), are bullied by TalkBack Radio callers.

This may have little to do with infanticide, but there is a dark aspect contributory to NZ culture.

It is only part of new Zealand culture a small section of people that do this/ not everyone/ this section who do/ need sorting/

 

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