Let’s talk about the elephant in the room

Depression is a massive problem in New Zealand. Monday’s report into compliance issues at schools in relation to the Vulnerable Children Act raised some interesting stats.

In the year to 31 March 2018, Oranga Tamariki received 89,651 reports of concern relating to 63,077 children. 46% of those reports required further action, with 34% of those cases being substantiated.

That’s 13,966 cases, or 16% of the original reports of concern having findings substantiated.

Now look at these figures:

Of all the children that had abuse findings substantiated, more than half of the cases were of emotional abuse. And it wasn’t just last year; it’s been that way for at least the last five.

We’re endlessly hearing news reports about kids like the Kahui twins, or Nia Glassie, or Moko Rangitoheriri, and how many other kids that are being physically abused, or killed. We hear about the grotesque sexual abuse of kids. But no one seems to want to talk about how significant the emotional abuse stats are.

They are bad.

8,636. That’s the average number of emotional abuse cases per year from the last five. That equates to a city the size of Palmerston North suffering from the effects of emotional abuse after just one decade. Yes, you could argue that living in Palmerston North might do that, but that’s not the point.

The point is that that city-sized population are all kids. The baggage from their youth being dragged with them into adulthood and, along with that, an enormous burden of cost on the taxpayers.

We’ve already got generation snowflake who are triggered by just about everything. What are kids going to be like when these snowflakes start making babies? With everyone stuck with their faces in their phones, the only way to reduce the percentage of cases of emotional abuse surely can’t just be to increase neglect, can it?

Everyone knows that kids can get wrecked for life by abuse. Bruises may heal, but the impact of emotional trauma can be incredibly detrimental to long-term functionality, not just for each person but for all of society.

The Prime Minister has spent much time talking about the importance of children to her, particularly child poverty. But what about emotional abuse, Jacinda? Cause these stats from Oranga Tamariki are pretty bad.


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