Saturday, December 26, 2015

The answer is 197 or 5.7%

Sorry for the delay in providing the answer to my previous post question. I received a new lap top for Christmas (the old one was repeatedly over-heating and shutting down) and the transfer of data has taken time.

The Hutt Valley DHB screening process found 197 of the 3, 458 woman questioned disclosed physical abuse at home. That's 5.7%. S Beast guessed 5-15%.

This result is remarkably similar to that found by the 2014 NZCSS, which found 6% of women and 4% of men "to be the victim of a violent interpersonal offence by an intimate partner in 2013".

"The New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey (NZCASS) is a face-to-face survey of almost 7000 randomly chosen people living in New Zealand who are aged 15 or over.

The NZCASS has been carried out three times: 2014, 2009 and 2006."

The good news is the 5% of people who were victimised by an intimate partner in 2013 was down from 7% in 2008.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Have a guess

A couple of days back I was questioning Jan Logie's claim that 70 percent of sole parents on income support were leaving or had come from violent relationships.

Just yesterday a relevant piece appeared in the Hutt News which highlighted local levels of family violence by screening women presenting at Hutt Hospital.

"During the year ending June 30, 2015, 3,458 women were asked if they had been subjected to physical abuse in their home.
Every woman presenting at one of the hospital's key high risk areas - emergency department, child health, special care baby unit, medical assessment and planning unit and maternity - was screened unless it was inappropriate to do so because children or a controlling partner were present....every mother was asked at least three times during her pregnancy, again if she gave birth at the hospital, and a Plunket nurse might ask later."

So how many do you think disclosed being subjected to physical violence?

(Yes there are too many unknown factors to make an educated guess but have a crack at it anyway.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Govt moves on Sole Parent Support again

The legislation required to increase benefits by $25 next April to families with children is currently passing through parliament. The bill is called the Support for Children in Hardship Bill.

Naturally the opposition will have to support the government bill. But they aren't happy.

That's because National is taking the opportunity to make another change.

At the moment sole parents are required to work (or look for work) averaging at least 15 hours per week when their youngest starts school.

The bill changes that requirement to an average of 20 hours per week when the youngest child turns 3.

That was what the Welfare Working Group recommended in 2011.

In fact Anne Tolley makes mention of it during the debate:

"The Opposition often talks about Norway, and how they do things in Norway. It was interesting to see that France, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland have a work expectation for people receiving a benefit when their youngest child is 3 years of age. A range of other countries have work expectations at an earlier age, including Sweden, Japan, and Denmark, which is another country that is often quoted to us as one that we should take notice of. In Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Japan, and Sweden all sole parents are subject to a work test, regardless of the child’s age. So, actually, what we are doing here in New Zealand is consistent with international practice.

Finally, I refer to the Welfare Working Group from 2011, which recommended that sole parent beneficiaries should be required to seek part-time paid work of at least 20 hours per week once their youngest child is 3 years of age. Of course, we did not implement that—we did not go as far as that. But having seen, then, the success and the number of sole parents with children younger than 5 going into part-time work, we are very confident that the obligations we are placing in this bill will have a great long-term effect for those families—for both the mothers and for their children, long term. So I think the evidence has been well presented. It is very clear. It is well supported.

I refer the Opposition to the comments of Dr Lance O’Sullivan, who was last year’s New Zealander of the Year, who supported the proposals from the Government at the time they were announced. He stated—and, again, we have good evidence that shows it—that children from vulnerable families at risk, which we know many of those children in sole parent, benefit-dependent homes are, will benefit the most from having access to early childhood education. So the 20 hours’ early childhood education will provide those children with learning opportunities and with socialisation, and we think that that has good long-term benefits for those children."

Of course it still won't make any difference to those sole parents who choose to live where work opportunities are scarce.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Typically dodgy claim from Green MP

A report in the DomPost this morning:

"...Green Party social development spokeswoman Jan Logie said international evidence shows about 70 per cent of people seeking income support are in a violent relationship so many more people should be receiving an exemption."

That was news to me.

She also recently said in Parliament:

"I really have to remind this Committee, again, of the fact that there is international research, which indicative research in New Zealand backs up, that 70 percent of these sole parents are likely to be leaving violent relationships."

So a did a bit of googling.

Here is the Australian research:

"This paper summarises the findings from a study investigating aspects of single mothers’ experiences of transition and adaptation to living as a single parent in South Australia in the 1990s.  The qualitative research traced 36 respondents’ decision making, and the events surrounding their entry into sole parent status and subsequent adaptation.....The women in this study were drawn from the group at highest risk of violence - single women who had previously had a partner.  Just over half the sample (55 percent) had ever experienced physical or sexual assault by a former partner and/or other family member.  Of the twenty survivors of violent assaults, ten had first been abused in childhood, and eight of these had also experienced violent adult relationships.  Of the 29 separated mothers, seventy-two percent nominated violence as the reason their relationship ended....
All respondents had claimed income support at the time they became single mothers.
The research sample was drawn from a range of sources in South Australia including 8 women from a parent community of a primary school in a low socio-economic region of metropolitan Adelaide, 6 clients from a sole parent resource centre, 2 students from Flinders University, 10 referrals from respondents and 10 mothers from Whyalla.  Recruitment of respondents was undertaken by a combination of notices at venues which mothers attended, invitation by the researcher and referrals from respondents.  Thirty percent of the respondents were aged between 25 and 34, whilst 60 percent were aged between 35 and 45.  Just over half the sample had been a single parent for less than five years and 70 percent had one or two children.
The sample was grouped for analysis into mothers who gave birth alone (n=7), mothers who separated from non-violent relationships (n=11) and mothers who separated from violent relationships (n=18).....
The findings from the study  highlight the compounding ways in which violence against women and children is a critical factor impacting on the population of single parents in Australia.  The National Council of Single Mothers and their Children’s (NCSMC) member organisation in South Australia, Spark Resource Centre, has consistently identified that between seventy and eighty percent of clients presenting at the Centre are survivors of violence.  Their presenting problems include poverty, homelessness, being unable to protect themselves or  their children from abuse during contact, children’s behavioural problems arising from violence and feelings of rejection and stigma from wider society."

The research is biased. 10 respondents were referrals. The consistent identification of violence survivors comes from those who turn up at resource centres. It'd be like doing a survey at Women's Refuge.

Qualitative research does not allow conclusions to be drawn across the whole population.

Getting back to the reason Jan Logie was making this claim - to ensure certain sole parents aren't work-tested - why is it the Greens think that discouraging women from developing a new support network of friends and co-workers and leaving the isolation of being benefit-dependent and easy prey for a ne'er-do-well, is such a bad thing?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Govt predicts higher child assault numbers in 2016

It's a mystery to me how the projections are made but it's pretty grim.

 "...we are working to reduce the number of assaults on children. By
2017, we aim to halt the 10-year rise in the number of children experiencing physical
abuse, and reduce the current numbers (2011) by five percent. This is a complicated
area of work and the answers are not simple. Long-term success and sustainability will
be challenging."

To be fair at least the govt has been prepared to try new approaches in this area. They want to give more autonomy to the people who live and work in the communities with these children and enable each agent to communicate with the other:

"Children’s Teams are one of the tangible ways in which we are integrating our
support for children at risk. They bring together professionals from iwi/Mäori,
health, education, welfare and social service agencies to work with children and
their families.....The Children’s Action Plan Directorate is currently developing the Vulnerable Kids
Information System (ViKI). ViKI will be an essential tool to enable Children’s Teams to
identify, respond to, and reduce child vulnerability. ViKI will be implemented in phases,
with the first phase supporting the Hamilton Children’s Team....There are currently four Children’s Teams which were established in 2013 and 2014.
These are in Rotorua, Whangarei, Horowhenua/Ōtaki and Marlborough. The remaining
sites yet to go live are in Hamilton, Tairawhiti (Gisborne), Eastern Bay of Plenty,
Christchurch, Whanganui and Clendon/Manurewa/Papakura."

Some of those teams might be up and running since the publication of the report.

But whether the new ways of working can be supported is a further question:

"It is not a simple task to manage transformational business change while also managing
the rise in demand for services in the face of rising prices. To add to the complication of
cost pressures, two large programmes of work (Children’s Action Plan (CAP) and Child,
Youth and Family service delivery changes) were funded on a one-off basis." 
Step back for a moment though.

It has to be asked why New Zealand has come to this.

Pumping money into poor communities through benefits that are supposed to improve the lives of children, only to have to pump in more and more for (sometimes futile) efforts to keep those children safe. 

 The number of children who experienced substantiated physical abuse in the 12 months to 30 June 2015.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

10 years blogging

Image result for birthday cake with 10 candlesYesterday marked ten years of blogging. Over 5,000 posts and I still don't necessarily know what I think about any given subject; or have the answers; or understand the sum of the facts. But on one matter I am consistently provoked enough to keep going. And it's not welfare. I am having difficulty encapsulating what it is. Perhaps it's just low-grade thinking, of which there is no shortage proliferating politics, academia and the media. Rarely a day passes without someone or something setting off my bull-shit detector. Very occasionally they are false alarms highlighting my own prejudices. Sometimes the energy and/or time isn't available to address the offence. And they will most certainly run out before the transgressions do.....

No matter. I celebrated with a good dose of Billy Connolly. May I recommend him next time you are feeling overwhelmed by mush and mediocrity, and desperate to shut out the 'stupid' world.