Chris Meney quotes in an opinion piece published in The Age from a United States Government report (see email below), that makes the claim:
Compared to children living with married biological parents, those whose single parent had a live-in partner had more than eight times the rate of maltreatment overall, over 10 times the rate of abuse, and nearly eight times the rate of neglect.
I live with my partner and his two teenage children. They are not being abused, maltreated or neglected. I see them receiving a whole lot of love, care, respect and a fairly decent deal overall. I would say they are two fairly well-adjusted teenage children who have a father in a stable and happy relationship.
They also spend quality time with their mother, as time and circumstances permit. They have unlimited access to both parents and get what they need from both of them as much as possible.
My partner and I met in November 2008. Meeting Gregory changed my life in the most wonderful way. I had been in a very lonely and dark place for some months and his presence uplifted me and brought me back to a stable and happy place. I may even have succumbed to my suicidal thoughts if I had remained single for much longer back then. Having each other in our lives makes us truly happy and it wasn’t too much longer after starting a relationship that we made it known to our friends and families. We even registered our relationship with the Victorian Government on April 21 this year. We did this for legal reasons as by default our relationship would only be recognised under law after two years.
Gregory’s children have grown up with their father having a male partner since they were very young and for them this was normal. When I came into Gregory’s life I also came into their lives. I had never been in a relationship with a parent before. It was uncharted territory for me. Yet it seemed very straightforward. I have adapted to having a partner who has had to juggle his time between me and his children, and it works well.
Gregory has been his children’s primary care-giver for a number of years prior to his marriage breaking up, some 13 years ago. Complicating the picture is that his ex-wife is not well and is no longer able to work. He supports his children and the support sometimes has to stretch to supporting his ex-wife as well, so she can look after their children when they are with her. This puts strains on the finances. Despite that Gregory somehow makes ends meet, and makes sure his children are looked after. He goes to pains to make sure they are not neglected.
Chris Meney has extrapolated American research to an Australian situation. The two societies are not the same. His assertions about Australian society are unfounded as the research he (ab)uses is not relevant here. There may be parents in Australia who neglect or abuse their children, but it is not because they are unmarried or living in the types of relationships that he does not approve of. I know of children who have been abused by one or both of their married parents while living in the family home and have sustained long-term psychological damage from it.
Heterosexual married parents may offer a stable environment for children but so do homosexual parents and single parents. I can guarantee no child born into a same-sex relationship ever happened by accident. The same cannot be said of all too many children of heterosexual couples, married or otherwise. Further, I am yet to hear of a pregnant woman in a same-sex relationship who has had an abortion, despite the increasing numbers of women in same-sex relationships giving birth.
The Catholic Church, together with its ideology, is pure evil. Chris Meney is no better for being its mouthpiece. Actually it’s more of an anus than a mouthpiece.
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: 16 July 2010 18:22
Subject: Meney article and the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse
The study referred to in the Meney article is here:
While the proportion of children raised outside marriage is going up, the study reports a 26% decrease in reported child abuse or neglect in the period 1994 – 2005/6, including a 38% decrease in sexual abuse cases (pages 6-7).
In the overwhelming majority of cases (81%) the perpetrator (both of abuse and neglect) was the child’s biological parent (page 14) and “68% of the maltreated children were maltreated by a female, whereas 48% were maltreated by a male”, though males were more highly represented in cases of abuse carried out by non-biological parents.
Children living with the non-biological partner of a parent were 8 times more likely to be maltreated than children living with two married biological parents (page 12). This statistic is the platform on which Meney builds his argument. Given the lower rates of co-habitation in the US, generalising this statistic to countries with high rates of cohabitation (like Australia) is highly questionable.
The overwhelming evidence from this study is that children in marginalised families are more likely to be abused or neglected. In the United States, to be born black, poor, or to a single parent is to be born more vulnerable to abuse.
With respect to families headed by same-sex couples, the only message you could infer this study is that they should be allowed (indeed encouraged) to marry. Instead Meney has dogwhistled rainbow families with “Vocal minority groups often assert a right to have children delivered to them on demand”.
It’s interesting that he departs from the usual arguments when he says, “At some point, however, the debate needs to move beyond paying mere lip-service to “the best interests of the child”.” Well, yes. Valued, well-respected parents have valued well-respected kids.
If only Meney could follow his own logic.