Thursday, June 19, 2014
Mike Butler: Report hypes family violence
Sir Owen Glenn's $2-million inquiry into family violence that suggests considering alleged perpetrators guilty unless they can prove they are innocent is a 163-page waffle that tends to blame the police, courts, booze, and all of us, while absolving poor choice of partners and poor life skills.
This first report of The Glenn Inquiry (1), issued on Monday, has found 500 people, mostly Caucasian women aged between 41 and 60, who had experienced domestic violence and child abuse, to blame New Zealand's court system’s structure and processes, and the people working within it for re-victimising and re-traumatising victims.
How widespread is family violence? While the report would have you believe that it is everywhere, in fact 20,000 women and children needed the help of Women’s Refuge last year.
This 20,000 is within a context of 1,430,379 married couples in NZ last year and 409,380 de facto marriages, according to Statistics New Zealand. In short, family violence involves a little over one percent of the total relationships in the country.
Section 1 provides detailed victim testimonies, like social worker porn. Broken relationships and custody tangles meant abuse victims were neglected as children and often abused mentally, physically and sexually. Partners faced financial abuse. Victims cited apathy and looking away from violence as well as the prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse.
The system failed victims by not believing victims, poor record keeping, lack of intervention, violence programmes not working. Child abuse and domestic violence continues having an impact after the relationship ends. Poor choice of men can mean a violent ex can continue harassment for years.
Those who broke the cycle of abuse did so by determined effort over years such as by not entering into a further relationship, returning to school and gaining qualifications, and becoming self-reliant. A 12-week course is not enough.
Section 2 presents victims accounts of what’s working well. In short, genuine people in families, the community and all parts of the system made a difference. What was not working well was detailed in Section 3.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit I spent so much time reading this twaddle. It all started with a 30-minute wait on the phone to an electricity provider. However, having read much of it I can say that I did not notice the part that blamed colonisation, and assumed Radio New Zealand went with that angle based on an interview with the inquiry's chief panellist, Marama Davidson. (2)
The politically correct personnel charged with peddling this pap made sure that a nod to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi is present, with report chair Bill Wilson a former Supreme Court jurist and Waitangi Tribunal member.
Odd to think that such an eminent jurist would happily reverse the burden of proof so that an aggrieved party could make an allegation of abuse and in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, the alleged perpetrator would be unable to prove his or her innocence.
The report was released on the day a bashed child died, (3) contributing to the illusion that child abuse is everywhere when it is not. One could think that the report blames the cycle of abuse, police, and dysfunctional courts, but the only dysfunction was in the person who did the bashing, who had neither conscience nor a shred of moral fibre that told him that bashing a defenceless eight-month-old was wrong.
The report did provoke comment, especially the utter tosh blaming the wicked white colonizer for Maori misbehaviour, even though family misbehaviour is not limited to Maori.
Part of post-report comment included the reminder that women are safer when married and children safer when living with their married biological parents simply because, for girls, marriage provides a measure of stability and commitment to the adults’ relationship, and because married biological fathers are more likely to be attentive and engaged with their children because they expect the relationship to be enduring. (4)
Meanwhile, an interesting Australian initiative involving a $200 voucher to enroll newlyweds in four or six hour courses to give couples coping and communication skills to deal with lifelong partnerships. The marriage education sessions seek to ensure that relationships do not suffer when dirty nappies, colicky babies and sleep deprivation consume parents’ lives. (5)
The Glenn report limited itself to tinkering with the system, with police, the Family Court, WINZ, CYPFS, and so on. Most of the 1.8-million couples in New Zealand keep as far away as possible from police, courts, and social workers, and those already blighted to having to deal with the system know that absolutely no good will come out of it.
1. The Glenn Inquiry. https://glenninquiry.org.nz/the-peoples-report
2. Colonisation a 'factor' in abuse report. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/247379/colonisation-a-'factor'-in-abuse-report
3. Man denied bail after baby boy dies. https://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/24251724/man-denied-bail-after-baby-boy-dies/
4. One way to end violence against women? Married dads. http://bobmccoskrie.com/?p=11243#sthash.lbrVnVxT.7e8BJFf7.dpufhttp://bobmccoskrie.com/?p=11243#sthash.lbrVnVxT.dpuf
5. Australian Govt offers newlyweds $200 vouchers for counselling. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/social-services-minister-kevin-andrews-says-taxpayers-could-provide-parents-with-marriage-education/story-e6frg6n6-1226955102792
at 11:51 AM