Let’s put facts first – headlines second

Brian Gardner – White Ribbon Chair and Te Kupenga – National Network of Stopping Violence CE

25 October 2012

Let’s put facts first – headlines second

The recent release by Family First purporting to uncover ‘inconvenient truths’ does not present all the facts. Media outlets reported that ‘nearly 50% of children who die as a result of family violence are killed by their mothers’ – a statement that includes deaths that are not usually included in family Violence Statistics.

The figures are inferred from the New Zealand Police Family violence Death review.

“All violence is not ok, however this interpretation of the numbers masks the real context”, says White Ribbon Chairperson Brian Gardner, “and context is very important when looking at family violence.

“While Family First is stating a fact, they are being irresponsible by not presenting the numbers with all the specifics.

“Only two out of the 15 deaths where mothers were responsible for the child, was physical assault the cause of death. Contrast this with the 10 out of 10 deaths where fathers and step-fathers were responsible for the death of a child and were caused by assault.

“To draw the conclusion that the focus of many organisations is wrongly concentrated on men’s violence is misleading.

Of the 15 out of 33 child victims killed by their mothers:

  • 5 were infanticide (where babies and pregnancies were concealed )
  • 6 were murder/suicides
  • 2 drowned in the bath when children were not attended to
  • 2 were physical assaults

“Of the 10 children killed by men, all were physical assaults and of the stepfathers involved, all had previous convictions.

“What we need to measure is like with like.

“To combat family violence and create change in our society, we need to look at the real figures and I believe that men are ready to face up to this inconvenient truth, that the most serious violence is perpetrated by men. It’s very sad when figures are being misused to undermine the work being undertaken in our communities,” said Mr Gardner.

For interviews contact Brian Gardner
Chairperson White Ribbon Committee
Cell 0274 529 556
News articles and press releases posted prior to this release:
Newstalk ZB
NZ Herald
Menz Website
NZ Police
Radio NZ
Interview on Radio New Zealand Nine to Noon
Brian Gardner, manager of National Network of Stopping Violence Services and spokeperson for White Ribbon; and Professor David Fergusson of the Christchurch Health and Development study at the University of Otago, who has also been researching child abuse for more than forty years.

About whiteribbonnz
White Ribbon is a community led campaign to end men's violence towards women

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