A report on youth crime release this week is a timely reminder that New Zealand can not continue down its current path,
said ACT Welfare spokesman Dr Muriel Newman.
The Kids in Trouble report, prepared by teacher Michael Reid for the New Zealand Education Development Foundation, says
there is a strong correlation between single-parent families and juvenile crime. The survey was based on a sample of 500
files of young Christchurch offenders, it found that 74 per cent were male, 66.5 per cent were Caucasian, and almost 65
per cent came from fatherless homes. Most of the crimes related to dishonesty.
“This report backs up numerous overseas studies linking fatherlessness with juvenile crime. While researching my Shared
Parenting bill I was amazed at the numerous and compelling examples, across many cultures, of young people who were
estranged from their fathers, who ended up in trouble.
“One of the main attractions of Shared Parenting was that it ensured that both mothers and fathers had active
involvement in supporting and guiding their children, a move that saw a reduction in juvenile crime in those countries
that introduced it.
“The report should be a wake-up call for the Government. If present trends continue, by the year 2010 half of European
and three quarters of Maori infants under 12 months old will live in families where there are no fathers. This means
that more and more young people will engage in crime unless we do something about it.
“When American President Bill Clinton was confronted with similar evidence in the mid nineties, he changed laws to
remove the incentives that promulgated sole parenthood. Further, most states in America have shared parenting.
“The big question now is whether the Government will even recognise the value and significance of the ‘Kids in Trouble’
report. If they do, they will need to take action, and a good place to start is with shared parenting. If they ignore
the problem, juvenile crime will simply get worse,” said Dr Muriel Newman.
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at