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  • Our Words Matter

Women's Refuge Child Poverty Policy Requests

Written by Women's Refuge as part of the Spend My Super series that takes a look at how each political party will address child poverty in New Zealand.

This is Women's Refuge's request:

In New Zealand, children are present in about half of family violence callouts by police, and in around 70% of those households with violence, children are also direct victims of some form of violence. Every day in homes throughout the country our kids are seeing, hearing and in many cases getting caught in the middle of family violence.

Exposure to family violence can have a significant impact on children’s lives and wellbeing. Early onset, and frequent and long-term exposure to family violence for children delays and changes the neurological development within their brains, meaning that violence can change the way children think, act and feel for the rest of their lives.

Given the significant impacts of family violence on children and the generally poorer outcomes for children who experience adversity in their lives the importance of providing early targeted support to children is evident. However, much of the work that family violence providers undertake with children is unrecognised, unfunded and often peripheral to work that is being undertaken with other members of the family. It is vital that children have access to skilled support in their own right.

Policy for dedicated children’s advocates would ensure that children receive the critical, one-to-one support they require to heal. One-to-one support is extremely important for children who have experienced trauma. This type of support allows them to go at their own pace; provides non-confrontational spaces to talk about their experiences; develop trust and rapport with and advocate; permits time for focusing on themselves and their needs; and demonstrates to them that they are valued and that they are listened to.

While no policy exists to address this gap in service, it is essential for breaking the cycle and helping the smallest members of our society heal and grow.


This article has been republished with approval from Spend My Super,an organisation that is committed to finding new ways to help children in poverty. By uniting Kiwi over 65’s, Spend My Super is helping solve child poverty by enabling them to easily share their surplus superannuation with trusted charities, each chosen for their real impact.



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