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More warnings needed on fetal alcohol effect
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ANDREW BECROFT INTERVIEW

 

The Children's Commissioner wants to see more done to warn women of the risks of drinking during pregnancy.

Judge Andrew Becroft has just returned from a meeting with Australia's children's commissioners, where the connection between fetal alcohol syndrome and crime was discussed.

The Western Australia commissioner reported 40 percent of those in the state's youth justice prison have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, with their mothers confirming they drank during pregnancy, and another 40 percent are suspected of having the disorder.

"The numbers are clear. You play with fire drinking alcohol during pregnancy and downstream there are real risks including imprisonment, youth offending and that is why the message has got to be so clear. It's a health issue but it's a social issue. People say 'what can we do to stop crime?' Well the ultimate crime fighting tool starts with no alcohol during pregnancy," Judge Becroft says.

He says not enough research has been done in New Zealand about fetal alcohol rates.

People with fetal alcohol syndrome can do well in a structured environment, but left to their own devises their lives can become chaotic because of the way their brains make decisions.

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