My Project

The problem this report deals with is child exposure to domestic violence in New Zealand. This is an issue of extreme importance as there is very strong evidence that children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to develop a range of mental illnesses and behavioural difficulties. In addition, exposed children are likely to continue the trend of domestic violence into a new generation. I chose to analyse the New Zealand government’s approach to tackling this problem and determine where and why government failure is occurring. In particular, I focused on government approaches to protect children from future exposure. I discovered that there has been a failure to properly implement the legislation of the Care of Child Act (2004). This failure has resulted from a continued valuation of contact between the abusive parent and their child, and a lack of input from trained psychologists in the determination of when a child is safe from potential harm. Moreover, through a comparative institutional analysis with Australia I discovered that identifying greater amounts of children exposed to domestic violence does not translate into better results for children, but places further unrealistic burden on already strained family services. In light of this fact, I argue that it would be wiser to focus more on those at greatest risk, and provide thorough counselling services for parents and children who have left a violent domestic situation. Finally, I identified successful child-led psychotherapeutic programmes being used in Melbourne and believe these programmes should be made available throughout New Zealand.

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4 Responses to My Project

  1. danielhirst says:

    Dear Dale,
    Thanks you very much for your interesting feedback.

    I had thought about looking into the ‘It’s not OK programme’, but decided to focus on the legislation and the problems surrounding it more than on social marketing campaigns. One of my suggestions was that social marketing campaigns are essential in forming a culture which understands the impact that simply being in the presence of domestic violence has on children. Essentially, my recommendation reflects an acknowledgement that such campaigns are important, and if I had more time I would have expanded my project to include an analysis of those campaigns (this is something I would like to do in the future).

    You are right. It seems that the justice system is not protecting women and children from partners. This was one of my key criticism, although I focused primarily on its inability to protect children. Its inability to protect women is a further issues, and is deeply connected with the topic at hand. Once more, this is a further issue I hope to one day explore.

    I don’t however know anything about the ‘men’s rights movement’ and its relationship to custody issues. This is something I clearly have to explore.

    Once more thanks for your comments and time.

    Kind regards,

  2. Dale Little says:

    Overall, I found the report thoughtful and balanced. I found the references to the MOWA report ‘Living on the Cutting Edge’ very useful – in my opinion, this is a extremely good piece of research. In looking at reasons to address children’s exposure to violence, I like the acknowledgement of the immediate and enormous hurt and suffering of children in a violent household, not just the damage to their future potential.
    Some questions it raised for me re context: what happened for Maori whanau within the systemic responses you describe? Might be worth looking at the impact of primary prevention work such asTe Kahui Mana Ririki or the It’s not OK campaign ; the men’s rights movement changing the environment around ‘custody’ issues; and the inability of the present justice system to keep women and children safe from on-going violence from partners /ex-[partners which is a key factor in women’s ability to separate their interests from that of the partner/father.
    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  3. A concerned professional says:

    This is very a well developed report. We will gladly consider your recommendations. Eliminating domestic violence is a priority for all people, and especially children.

  4. tuanvietmai says:

    It is very interesting and thoughful analysis. well done Dan

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