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Campaign launched to prevent baby shaking
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Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says NZ’s child abuse track record is shameful’
Wed, 02 Sep 2009 5:29p.m.
By Duncan Garner
The Government is going to launch a campaign to stop babies being shaken.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is behind the new campaign, she says it will target Maori men as they are over represented in the statistics.
Bevan Matthews looks after his four-year-old grand daughter Caitlyn full time.
She was shaken as a baby by her father and he was jailed for assault.
The damage done to the toddler has been permanent, Caitlyn cannot walk or talk.
Mr Matthews says any campaign to stop babies being shaken is crucial.
“I do believe that some young parents don’t understand the vulnerability of children at that young age,” he says.
The last public campaign against shaking a child was back in 1993.
Tomorrow the Government will officially announce a new public awareness campaign to start in November.
Ms Bennett says the campaign is long overdue.
“Our track record is shameful as a nation, we’ve got 23 babies a year that are shaken and the long-term harm that is done to those children is horrific,” she says.
Statistics show that 75 babies were hospitalised last year due to assault – an increase from 50 four years ago.
Of the 75, many were victims of shaking.
More than one baby is hospitalised every 5 days and 65 percent die or suffer permanent damage.
Ms Bennett says in more than 50 percent of abuse cases in children under two – Maori men are responsible.
“Unfortunately there are a higher number of Maori men that are shaking and hurting those children but I would tell you I think it is a New Zealand problem,” she says.
The action plan will see more social workers based at Auckland Starship Hospital, the centre currently has one.
Other major hospitals will also get dedicated Child Youth and Family social workers for the first time.
A new pilot will be trialled in South Auckland, where 700 at risk children will be monitored.
Ms Bennett’s faces a challenge against overwhelming statistics and she will no doubt be judged in the years to come on whether her campaign has made difference.
Comments  so far check LINK above for more
03 Sep 2009 6:12p.m.
I think the real problem with New Zealand is EVERY citizens general tendency to sit around waiting for the government or some other organisation to come along and think for them.
Certainly I think the gov should do absolutely everything in their power to combat child abuse/accidenly injury
but more importantly everyone should do what they can to help. I’m not taking super hero stuff here, just simple things like offering to babysit for friends keeping up to date with best childcare practices etc etc
03 Sep 2009 2:19p.m.
“Ms Bennett says in more than 50 percent of abuse cases in children under two – Maori men are responsible.” Serious question – what is the point of this statistic? I have no doubt that there are common factors that affect more than just over 50% of the cases. For example, I expect that in at least 90% of cases people with two arms are responsible. Does that mean I am highly likely to shake any baby in my care because I too have two arms? Of course not. Obviously the overwhelming majority of people with two arms have NEVER shaken a baby. Thing is, neither have the overwhelming majority of Maori men. The disturbing thing in using this statistic is the implication of causality – that somehow race causes this behaviour. Or that all Maori carry more blame for these assaults because they are committed more often to Maori men. This is absolutely as nonsensical as suggesting all two handed people share increased responsibility because of the overwhelming representation of two-handers amongst offenders. Seriously, TV3 what is your point? Sadly, you get people like Julia Maybank here taking the statistic as demonstrating ‘who is primarily at fault here’. Meaning, one presumes, Maori men. All Maori men. Not just the individuals who actually committed the crimes, but a whole host of people who share one arbitrary attribute selected by TV3. Thereby she distances all non-Maori from responsibility, (including men, two-handers, short-haired men, alcoholics, wife-beaters…) and any other root causes for the problem besides race. The selection of this statistic ONLY passes unnoticed as arbitrary because we have been conditioned to infer that there IS some kind of racial predisposition to violence and crime amongst Maori and that statistics like this confirm it. For the record: THEY DO NOT – THEY ONLY SEEM TO. Nice work, TV3. Most tragically, readers are free to disregard the more than 40% of offenders who aren’t Maori. They aren’t “primarily at fault”. Absolute failure TV3
02 Sep 2009 10:27p.m.
Minda, I agree. It is a man’s job to bring in the money. Speaking of which, why the hell are you out of the kitchen? Oh, now thats a sexist remark….. God, go back to church and hallelujah with the rest of the looney tunes. Its people like you that really make us want to do somehting about shaken babies. Obviously your parents liked to play shake the baby? or doubel bounce on the trampoline? FOOL. You have just set the female race back 100 years. I;m beginning to like Paula Bennett. She has balls (which is more than I can say for a lot of the male politicians we have elected), and is not afraid to put it out there. About time someone did it. And before you all start with your PC racist “Come on, we can;t be blaming this problem all on the maori’s”, this is an issue that ddoes bode heavily with the Maori male population. Therefore, they are the first to be addressed. Just like drunk drivers. There would be no point in marketing drink driving ads on Muslim children’s tv would there (just a note for all the tools who will eventually play the race card). Goodnight.
02 Sep 2009 10:10p.m.
So Gary, your an unemployed, ethnic minority who feels that its women that have taken away your opportunity for work, But you have strong ethnic ties so that gives you the right to feel indignant. Got it. Your wrong of course, You know it!, MOST Men and MOST women of any ethnic background don’t hurt their own children. All our minister is trying to do is target the transgressors however unpalatable that my seem.!
02 Sep 2009 9:49p.m.
Minda, Thanks to the feminist movement, women have equal rights to work. So how can you, a female, make the statement that it is a mans sole responsibility to earn a living for his family? That is a shared responsibility, just as parenting is. You seem to be living in the dark ages. Furthermore, it is somewhat arrogant of you to claim that 99.9% of fathers do not have the patience to raise children, as well as being totally incorrect. It is a matter of record that 56% of child abuse in NZ is perpetrated by mothers. Finally, it is odd that you make the criticism of maori men being unable to speak their native ‘tounge’. You comments show you can’t even write your own language properly.
02 Sep 2009 9:29p.m.
Contrast shaking with smacking and the similarly deplorable practice of mothers sharing their bed with newborn infants, where and who are its proponents? They don’t seem exactly eager to speak out against nanny state interference .
02 Sep 2009 9:23p.m.
Its not Racist, its a cultural thing, Men of a certain Islam ethnic background think its ok to abuse and subjugate women. Some men have no understanding of love and respect, then the environment where they were nurtured needs to be overturned.
02 Sep 2009 8:07p.m.
That first comment is a bit RACIST i THINK! I was going to say; Its not the mens fault if you ask me? Reason being the men? Should NOT be left with the children in the first place. Its a mans job to go out support his family? NOT STAY HOME WITH A BABY!!! WE all know 99.9% of men do NOT HAVE THE PATIENCE to cope with a baby!!! So I think it is wrong for these young mothers to exspect these young Maori Men to such a situation out of their control< As if thay don’t have enough with identy issues because the pakeha came along and colonize all of them so now thay can’t even speak their native tounge???
02 Sep 2009 8:06p.m.
Stating the obvious, People who have no real passion for care, love and respect for their own children, need to look long and hard into the mirror stop what they are doing wrong, else they will go to jail. We all know who you are!. The stupidity of these people are all around us, one look down the supermarket isle, one look into the playground at school, their children are a reflection of how lack of self discipline, respect for others is out of control.
02 Sep 2009 7:37p.m.
I feel, putting more dedicated child youth and family social workers into hospitals is a fine idea(as long as it creates jobs and doesn’t put a heavier strain on already existing workers/staff). Creating an awareness is another matter.. It’s exactly the same as the “texting while driving” campaign. It’s stating the obvious while spending money/time on something that will not change the stupidity of certain characteristics in people. For a person to not have the parental control/patience/understanding to be able to handle a screaming/crying/moody child, does not mean finding them, prosecuting them, sending them to jail will have a positive outcome.
In this scenario, i can’t see Paula Bennet accomplishing anything worth while.