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The link between child abuse and father absence

Filed under: Domestic Violence — Vman @ 4:36 pm Fri 10th August 2007

Even someone who was with CYFS is aware of what the key problem is:

“In a 20-year career mostly with Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS), Mr Waru sees that the key problem in most troubled families is an absent father – either physically separated or “present but absent” because he simply doesn’t know how to connect with his children.”

It is not as if this hasn’t been widely known for some years:

“Seldom does public policy stand in such direct defiance of undisputed truths, to the point where the cause of the problem — separating children from their fathers — is presented as the solution, and the solution — allowing children to grow up with their fathers — is depicted as the problem. If you want to encourage child abuse, remove the fathers.”

How many times when we read about a child being murdered or abused, there’s a biological father coming back from Australia or somewhere to try and fix up the mess?

“Government knows only too well that the overwhelming majority of cases of child abuse occur in families where the biological father is absent, where the family is unstable with the mother often having multiple relationships with different men, where the family income is a welfare cheque and where there is already an established history of child abuse. ”

Our good, kind ‘web slave’ will know about this study.

“Children are at the greatest risk of all forms of child abuse when they are being raised by solo mothers, without input form the fathers.”

The Labour government’s response:
A. Ban smacking
B. Ask every woman that enters hospital the following questions:

  1. Has anybody hurt or threatened you?
  2. Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised?
  3. Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn’t want to do?

Imagine asking a NZ man in a relationship with a western woman: “Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised?” But I digress.

(Notice how every man women and their dog has something to say about child abuse right now – EXCEPT Sue Bradford.) According to the Greens child abuse will drop now that smacking has been banned. Of course those claims will be quietly forgotten by the Greens.

What the Labour government, Sue Bradford and the like are doing is implementing polices that make the problem worse.

Policies that include and encourage biological fathers to raise their children will make the biggest difference. Greens and Labour policies either directly or indirectly work against this principle.


  1. Dave, this is good. Really good. Thank-you for putting all this together.

    Comment by julie — Fri 10th August 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  2. It’s excellent Dave.

    When a problem isn’t correctly diagnosed, the solution can’t be arrived at.

    For some reason, our current government refuses to correctly diagnose the causes of child abuse.

    This makes the government directly responsible for ongoing abuse.

    Their turn in the dock is coming.

    Comment by Rob Case — Fri 10th August 2007 @ 5:27 pm

  3. Hi there i am a single mother of four children three of my own and one whom is actually my cousin. I have been raising my kids alone for about two years now and have never once thought about bashing my kids sure i get angry and yell and scream like most mothers but i would never want to harm my kids. I was in a mentally abusive relationship for 5 years and came out of that and survived my kids father is not a good father he suffered a very abusive child hood and has been in and out of jail, he tries his best but it is not up to the standard that i want for the girls so he has little to no contact now. I think if he had some kind of counselling i would let him have more access to the kids anger management would also help something to teach him how to be a dad because he doesnt know how to.

    Comment by Sera — Mon 13th August 2007 @ 9:58 am

  4. Some people see childraising as a competition between the two parents. I believe that it is more constructive to look at two parents as having some similar characteristics and more importantly, some complementary characteristics. I suggest that two parents is still too small a number of interested adults, for any child’s upbringing.
    The hazard to children particularly arises from a parent who seeks to prevent most or all contact between the children and the other parent. Especially when all contact is cut off, then it is too easy for mis-communication (deliberate or unintentional), maybe even “lies” to creep in. Destruction of contact with the other parent is an insidious form of relationship vandalism, whether it is done by a parent or by a familycaught judge.
    Good parenting can be learned by the majority of parents, even if they are presently inexperienced (maybe there is an exception for a severely mentally incapacitated or maladjusted parent – why did you choose such a parent as a companion and to have a child with?).
    Experience is gained by example and doing, so that cutting off access is acting to prevent or stymie the other parent’s development as a parent.
    Besides, is the custodial parent (or familycaught judge) really well enough qualified and independant enough to make this judgement or has their judgement been clouded by recent events and unmet unrealistic expectations?
    It is easier to destroy than create, whether by bombs or by snidely poisoning relationships, behind someone’s back.
    Humility and sharing take better care of children, than making negative judgments of your own past lover, in most normal situations.
    Parents who seek to cut the other parent out of the children’s lives, usually put themselves and the children into a more difficult time stress and financial situation, usually unnecessarily so.
    Are the children being needlessly exposed to hazard, as part of the custodial parent’s ego trip?
    Try to see where the long term interests of the children lie?
    What values do you want to model to your children?
    Are you modelling good adult relationships to these children, or just taking an ego path that the familycaught fails to protect the children from?
    Your behaviours are likely to affect how much you may get to see your own grandchildren?
    Could you help your children more, by offering some assistance with parenting or by gently encouraging the other parent to accept help with gaining parenting skills?
    Of course, the most dangerous parents in this regard are those who internationally or long distance kidnap the children. To protect children from these parents, the abduction laws SHOULD be prosecuted, onto mothers as they sometimes are onto fathers. Lets get real about protecting children from arrogant parents.
    My comments are in general – not directed to the previous poster Sera, whom I do not know personally.
    Best regards, MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Mon 13th August 2007 @ 12:30 pm

  5. Obviously if a person has been a victum of child abuse themselves then without education and love themselves they pose a higher risk of abusing their own children.

    Having accepted that, I have read Sera comment carefully. She doesn’t actually state anything that warrants preventing the child enjoying a close relationship with the father. She infers certain things but she doesn’t actually come out and state anything to justify shutting out the father.
    For example:

    …he tries his best but it is not up to the standard that i want for the girls so he has little to no contact now.

    On the face of it, Sera is doing exactly the wrong thing for the wrong reasons – even though she expressed it in child focused terms.

    Now it could be that there are sound reasons to keep this father out of the children’s lives. However we haven’t been given any.

    …he suffered a very abusive child hood and has been in and out of jail…

    My ex stated in an affidavit that my father was “in and out of hospital”. My father had been in hospital for observation once in 15 years. He was released because they couldn’t find anything wrong with him. I have heard so many of these misleading statements from mothers excluding fathers that I need more details before I will take an expression like this at face value.

    In any case these things don’t disqualify him as a father now that the child has been born. If those things had really been cause for concern then you would not have slept him. It is too late to shut him out after the child has been born, since you expose the child to a higher degree of risk than by includng him. Risk not only of child abuse but of long list of very negative outcomes for the child.

    As I said there may be a valid reason for excluding the father but you haven’t stated one. You have only infered some.

    For example are you saying that all women who suffered a “very abusive child hoodshould” should have any children taken away from them? If not, then why is it OK to take children away from such a male parent but not a female parent?

    I was in a mentally abusive relationship for 5 years…

    If every father in a western country who had been in a “mentally abusive relationship for 5 years” were to prevent the mother from having contact with the child after divorce then there would not be very many mothers with their children.

    Women are far more physicologically abusive than men. The difference is clearly apparent in boys and girls long before they become full adults. It is probably just an evolutionary thing since women are not as physically powerful. However in a rational world, women should tread carefully when using this as an excuse to exclude children from the lives of fathers. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Comment by Dave — Mon 13th August 2007 @ 5:07 pm

  6. Dave,

    I don’t mean to be disrespecting what you have challenged Sera. but this is something I am seeing a lot. You ask her what made her seek out a man like this as a parent.

    But then what makes men seek out women that hurt them? Do you ever wonder how all this anti each other comes about?

    Comment by julie — Wed 15th August 2007 @ 6:01 pm

  7. Julie,

    Your questions are not disrespectful. I take them at face value. By that I mean you have asked something because you don’t understand it.

    I have assumed that Sera knew this guy was abused as a child and had a criminal record before she had unprotected sex, without brith control, with him multiple times. Now I might be wrong.

    She had a relationship with this guy for 5 years and had 2 or more children by him. Personally I think it is reasonable to assume that she knew about his past at least by the birth of the first child. However I accept that this is an assumption.

    “But then what makes men seek out women that hurt them?”

    My personal view is that if no children are involved, I really don’t give a damn if a man and a woman, who have split up, want to argue and fight and tear each other apart. It’s not my scene personally, but if they want to conduct their private life that way, then fine by me.

    Now this is were there is a disconnect between Sera’s story and your question. Sera has decided in her infinate wisdom that she will not let her children have any contact with their father. This isn’t about hurting the man. It is now about hurting the children. It is a kind of child abuse.

    This automatic link from hurting a man equates to hurting a man by preventing the children having contact with him sickens me. I am not refering to you or your genuine question. I am refering to a pattern of thinking that happens in virtually every divorce.

    I don’t care if a man was naive enough to shack up with a woman with a history of hurting other men. But once a child is born, then I do care very much. In a civilised country, society would care vary much. It should not be acceptable to society.

    Comment by Dave — Wed 15th August 2007 @ 7:42 pm

  8. Now having set the context [as I see it] to your question. It is worth considering your questions a little further.

    But then what makes men seek out women that hurt them?

    This is a valid question.
    Men need to raise their standards.
    I constantly hear women and dating agencies say that they can’t find any “decent” men. The statistics support this. There is a shortage of more than 40,000 men in the child rearing age group. The best and brightest leave the country and an increasing number don’t return at all. That disparity increases each year.

    Men in NZ need to be far more selective about who they shack up with. We should be advising and educating young men of this as much as we can.

    Comment by Dave — Wed 15th August 2007 @ 7:52 pm

  9. Do you ever wonder how all this anti each other comes about?

    This question needs more clarification to answer without writing a book on the subject.

    My first observation is that no man or woman is anti the other gender as a whole except for radical feminists.

    However I presume you meant; how do 2 parents become anti each other?

    Firstly in my experience the men are rarely anti their ex as such. In general they seem to want to share the care of the children with their ex even though they may have strong negative feelings about their ex.

    Again, in my experience, the women that end up in the family courts seem in general to be unable or unwilling to separate their negative feelings about the man from the way they behave.

    I was once waiting behind the door to a family court room while a man and a woman had their hearing before a judge. The woman was going balistic. I could only catch bits of what the man was saying. I heard him say things like “come on babe..”. But you could hear her across the street. I was worried for the father’s saftey and I wasn’t even in the room.

    Now I am sorry that this sounds one sided but this pattern is so common that I think it is a summary of what happens in most cases.

    Comment by Dave — Wed 15th August 2007 @ 8:07 pm

  10. I realise I have jumped from “how all this anti each other comes about?” to how they view each other once they have fallen out.

    I guess that just reflects my personal view that what is most important is the children. Whether the parents are together or not.

    To get back to your question. There must be thousands of reasons for it. However a careful consideration of the subject seems to inevitably lead to values and ideologies.

    Not so long ago marriage between a man and a woman was extremely highly valued and recognised as required to raise children. Compare that situation with today’s values.

    Not every marriage may have ben a happy one but at least the man and woman placed a value on each other and on their marriage.

    Now I am not suggesting we get rid of no fault divorce and all become devot christians. What I am saying is that marriage was highly valued by all in every culture around the world. In addition a wife and husband valued each other because without each other they lost social status.

    This wasn’t a perfect system but it was good for children, good for society and good for the species. Evolution over hundreds of thousands of years never came up with any better solution.

    But then feminism and socialism were invented. Some positives came from those inventions. However it wasn’t positive for children. In fact it has become a disaster for children.

    Comment by Dave — Wed 15th August 2007 @ 8:25 pm

  11. To my mind, that isn’t the biggest issue. To my mind, the biggest issue is that the pendulum has not yet swung back. I think it is encountering a little resistance but I don’t think it has come close to changing direction in NZ.

    Why this matters is that in NZ there are many incentives for the wife to leave the marriage and harm the children. For the father there are many incentives to stay married but there is little he can do about it.

    In addition young men and young women have not been taught skills that help to keep marriages together. The young maori men and in particular most NZ women have been taught the opposite.

    Men need to feel they are needed. They are unlikely to tell anyone this. However this need is very basic and primeval. It will shape a man in a powerful way.
    Western women are taught exactly the opposite. They are taught they don’t need a man. Their instincts tell them this is wrong but their whole lives they have been given messages that they don’t really need a man.

    Result – doomed relationships -> fatherless children -> more doomed relationships.

    Comment by Dave — Wed 15th August 2007 @ 8:44 pm

  12. I missed all of this being in Auckland and haven’t read it through properly, if in fact I should.

    Yet here we have the face of the problem. One side of the story has been concluded by one party and that party has the ability to describe without compunction to any conjecture to this view by the other.

    In fact the cause is debated and discussed. The father aint no good.

    Well I disagree. The father is a fine man. He is caring, loving, dedicated and devoted. It is just something you are blind to Sera, just like the rest of us.

    Comment by Benjamin Easton — Thu 16th August 2007 @ 10:08 am

  13. I totally agree with this article. It is unfortunate that people do not acknowldge this problem. It is always the mother and the step father who abuse the child – i read somewhere that the biological father is least likely to abuse a child. Yet people do not seem to make this link despite cases in the media showing this. Why are these parties the culprits? well in my opinion a solo mother is usually very insecure and will do anything for their partner (not the father), they will put him before their children and take out their insecurities on their children. A step-fathers thinking is probably – well its not my kid, its someone elses offspring and its getting all the attention.

    Also, have you noticed that in these media cases the solo mums tends to date younger men? there was one case, the nia glassie case where she was 35 and he was just 17! if you were that age would you trust a 17 year old to look after your kid?

    Comment by Athena Cotidis — Wed 12th September 2007 @ 10:55 pm

  14. in response to the Sera. you acknowledge that your children’s father had a terrible background and that is primarily why you dont want him around but did you consider that before you got pregannt? NO! because you are using any exuse you can to justify your selfish behaviour

    Comment by Athena Cotidis — Wed 12th September 2007 @ 11:01 pm

  15. The discussion above has centred on the real world, which is where most of the action occurs.
    A significant part of the problem happens in a very very very short time, inside the familycaught.
    If the familycaught judges were able to weigh evidence, listening to both sides and also assess parenting skills (as in ability to care for and protect children – not just advocating for the woman) then the real life situation around these children would be better able to care for these children.
    Why does the familycaught only support fathers, when the mother shows over several years that she isn’t really a good parent or a safe parent – only that she is downright dangerous?
    Why are the familycaught judges so slow to listen to fathers?
    The paramount interest that these people work to, is in stretching out cases and milking families and legal aid, for private monetary gain.
    Judge them by what they do, not what they say?
    Training in parenting skills and assessing parenting skills is not complex, it mainly takes a willingness to listen honestly to both parents and other witnesses, some human spirit of caring and integrity to protect the children’s interests, over PC attitudes.
    All of this is already provided for in legislation!
    These judges attempt to excuse their lack of performance to protect children, by interpreting legislation by using twisted and modified meanings for the words in the legislation. This trickery only leaves unprotected children occasionally injured or dying and the fathers are powerless to protect their own children – often by “caught Order”!
    The crude taking of sides by these “judges” damages the relationship between the parents (relationship vandals), where – if the legislation was followed – the relationship should be strengthened by wise contributions from judges who have something to contribute to making a better environment around these children.
    Our children should have the protection of a relevant and competent Family Court. MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Thu 13th September 2007 @ 8:09 am

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