gzt: Defence/education is another topic. It is not bringing any light to this one.
(spend on) defense was brought up as a tired old argument about funding levels.
Education is on topic. I don't happen to believe that school funding (or lack of) is related to child violence rates. I also don't believe that in most cases violence against children happens because parents don't love their kids, don't want to care for them, etc.
Lots of opinions expressed that "it's complicated" (and I agree - it is).
IMO one of the complications is instinctive human behaviour when under stress.
Suggested above is that it's a Maori & Pacific Island problem. It's worse in America - but not many Maori and Pacifica peoples there - so nailing it down to specifics of "culture" (rather than culture of society in general) is not going to lead to the answer.
My previous reply on this thread seems to have got lost :(
The problems I see are
- A failure of management at the upper levels. The examples given regarding Defence spending (LAVs, Patrol Boats, etc) are exactly what I'm talking about. It seems that there are buckets of money to be spent in the $100M+ bracket, without due consideration. Education-wise, there was Novopay of course, but I'm sure that equally horrific wastes of money are happening right now. Lots of money for analysts and policy makers and overseas study trips. Meanwhile, there's no money available for people doing the actual work to make improvements. Schools and principals and teachers are very adept at economising and running sausage sizzles, but not trusted to spend more money than what some bureaucrat arbitrarily approves. There also seems to be no shortage of money for auditors and bureaucrats to record and monitor and report on the efficiency of the front-line staff though. This is endemic to the whole Public Service AFAICT.
- An underclass without opportunities. A person with no fulfilment in their lives and crappy living conditions has nothing to lose; prison is really not much different from daily life. The only escape, albeit short-term, from this situation is drugs and alcohol. And sex. Children are not valued because (a) they're a drain on meagre resources, and (b) they have no future either. Under these circumstances, it's not surprising that they become victims of violence. Note that this isn't a cultural or racial issue; it's a social and economic one.