The Kahui legacy
I haven’t followed this case in any detail so I am not suggesting that it is necessarily a good example but if anyone has been following it, they may like to comment on that aspect.
What I am suggesting is that since the Kahui case, which essentially remains unresolved, we have seen an increase in the number of cases where both parents are being prosecuted for neglecting a child.
This will be an interesting area to watch:
Firstly, from the point of view of gender discrepancy; i.e. is a man more likely to be held equally accountable for his wife’s violence than a woman is for her husband’s violence.
Secondly in a case I observed in Australia, (relative age of new born children) the wife who was the main culprit, was jailed first and the husband’s case which also lead to a jail sentence concluded at the same time as the wife was released.
I assume the father had been looking after the older children during that time – the journalist concerned would neither confirm or deny – he wouldn’t discuss the issue which appeared to one of stage managed family planning for the children.
I am not advocating any less attention to child abuse situations.
What does concern me, is that we end up with the same thinking we have seen at domestic violence incidents (charge the male and that will fix the problem) in a similar manner we see a different burden of responsibility placed on a man to stop child abuse.
Society offers the man no moral, physical, or legal permission, or support, associated with the expectation of performing this responsibility. Is a man obliged to accept vicarious responsible for the possible consequences of any violence act, that his wife might perform.
Does the same thinking apply here in the Scollay murder/manslaughter trial?
Is this just a convenient oversight in our supposedly equal society?
What do you think?