Areas with the highest rates of child abuse

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 18:30 31/07/2013

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A report into child abuse in New Zealand has revealed the areas with the highest reported rates.

Child Poverty Action Group’s research, released at the organisation’s annual general meeting this evening, examined Child Youth and Family (CYF) data from 2008-2012.

Based on reporting of child abuse at CYF site offices, Papakura, Auckland, and Whakatane had the highest recorded rates.

The site office with the lowest rate was Wellington, found the report.

Papakura, with the highest rate of children as victims of substantiated claims of abuse, was 0.040%.

The Far North, with the tenth-highest proportion, had a rate slightly over half that, at 0.022%.

“The ten sites…show support for the proposition that child abuse is associated with deprivation,” said the report.

“Two areas with high rates of poverty – Whangarei and Far North – are at the bottom end of this group; while the presence of Taupo and Rotorua appears to reflect high rates of deprivation in surrounding rural areas.”

Westgate was the only site in Auckland in the top ten not in South Auckland.

Broken down into types of child abuse over the same time period, sexual abuse accounted for the smallest proportion, at 6.7% of cases.

Emotional abuse was the most common form, at 54.6% on average.

Sexual abuse and neglect was relatively constant during the period, but the number of emotional and physical abuse cases had risen.

CPAG said this could reflect an increase in the number of police and family violence referrals, or the impact of the Ministry of Social Development’s 'It’s not OK' campaign.

Though violent child abuse cases resulting in death attracted the most public attention, they accounted for a tiny fraction of child abuse cases, said the report.

Across the country, Maori children were abused at a rate far higher than expected, given their proportion in the population of children.

Raw data showed nationally Maori children were more than twice as likely to suffer abuse as Europeans.

The data pointed to the strong link between socioeconomic deprivation and ethnicity as an explanation.

TOP TEN HIGHEST RATES OF CHILD ABUSE

Papakura

Whakatane

Clendon

Taupo

Otahuhu

Manurewa

Rotorua

Westgate

Whangarei

Far North

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- Fairfax Media

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