READER REPORT:

Education, not discrimination, for parents

SUSANNE GROSSWILER
Last updated 05:00 20/06/2014

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How can we change New Zealand's appalling family violence statistics? Susanne Grosswiler says education is the key.

I believe to keep our children safe we have to look at the parents, family network and support.

Education in how to be a parent without using violence should be more accessible.

A role-model approach would be beneficial, not only in writing or talking about it. The experience of how to do it would have more impact on parents' understanding.

Social workers (with childcare or education degrees) should be available to every family needing time out and moral support. This should be paid for by the government.

Both women and men need support from family, neighbours and friends, to create a network that holds young families together, so everyone can get a break.

Single mothers and working mothers should have more access and support to get children into childcare. It should be free and the staff well paid, as they do the most important work: taking care of our future children.

Perpetrators should be doing community work in hospitals to learn how people suffer after injuries. They should be exposed to what they have done, and experience the consequences. Doing community work would help with being occupied and not sliding off the old path of alcohol and drug abuse. Offenders should be monitored so the victims can live freely and without fear.

If drug abuse or alcohol is apparent and has an unhealthy impact on a family, that family needs more support from social workers. This should be about education and support, not discrimination. Escape is often a sign of not coping with life.

There also needs to be more transparency for agencies to network and take action.

Police and the justice system need to be more helpful in terms of listening to the victims. They should put safety at the centre of the attention, rather than trying to mediate (social workers can do this).

Abused mothers often feel ashamed of what is happening in the family. They need support - groups where they can share and hear other abused women's stories. 

Everyone can be supportive and helpful even with a small gesture. Blame or shame is the last thing those in trouble need. With positive support so they can grow and the cycle can be broken.

Financial difficulties are a big stress factor too. Social welfare is not a great deal of support. Living costs are rising year by year and the benefit and people on benefits get criticised and discriminated against by politicians and the press. 

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People who need help should get it, that's what a society is here for: support. 


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